University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-637
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Intervention and Statebuilding
Early online date21 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2019


This article seeks to argue that the problematic engagement between United Nations peacebuilding and local civil society reveals an ontological tension between different forms of conceiving of actors and processes in peacebuilding contexts. Relationality is introduced as a potential analytical breakthrough. The article problematises UN static categorisations as failing to capture the complexity of local civil society and imposing a highly technical form of engagement. Unaware of these limitations, the UN seeks to instrumentalise local civil society to engage it in peacebuilding settings. This pattern is critically presented here as a totalising process through which the UN attempts to secure modernity.

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