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The Political Conditions for Local Peacemaking: A Comparative Study of Communal Conflict Resolution in Kenya
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5673-9056
2019 (English)In: Comparative Political Studies, ISSN 0010-4140, E-ISSN 1552-3829, Vol. 52, no 13-14, p. 2061-2096Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

How does government bias affect prospects for peace agreements in communal conflicts? Government bias has been shown to have a strong impact on the incidence and dynamics of localized ethnic conflict, but the way that it affects conflict resolution remains underexplored. I argue that government bias makes the conflict parties less likely to overcome the commitment problem, because they cannot trust the government’s willingness to guarantee or uphold any agreement they reach. Consequently, bias reduces the chances that the parties are able to reach a peace agreement. A systematic comparison of four cases in Kenya provides support for this argument. I also distinguish between bias related to strategic interest and bias related to relationships, and find that the former is more durable, whereas the latter is more likely to be influenced by political turnover, thereby opening up possibilities for peacemaking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 52, no 13-14, p. 2061-2096
Keywords [en]
African politics, conflict resolution, communal conflict, ethnic conflict, Kenya
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-379112DOI: 10.1177/0010414019830734ISI: 000487028700004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-379112DiVA, id: diva2:1295524
Available from: 2019-03-12 Created: 2019-03-12 Last updated: 2019-11-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Central Politics and Local Peacemaking: The Conditions for Peace after Communal Conflict
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Central Politics and Local Peacemaking: The Conditions for Peace after Communal Conflict
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Under what conditions can peace be established after violent communal conflict? This question has received limited research attention to date, despite the fact that communal conflicts kill thousands of people each year and often severely disrupt local livelihoods. This dissertation analyzes how political dynamics affect prospects for peace after communal conflict. It does so by studying the role of the central government, local state and non-state actors, and the interactions between these actors and the communal groups that are engaged in armed conflict. A particular focus is on the role of political bias, in the sense that central government actors have ties to one side in the conflict or strategic interests in the conflict issue. The central claim is that political bias shapes government strategies in the face of conflict, and influences the conflict parties’ strategic calculations and ability to overcome mistrust and engage in conflict resolution. To assess these arguments, the dissertation strategically employs different research methods to develop and test theoretical arguments in four individual essays. Two of the essays rely on novel data to undertake the first cross-national large-N studies of government intervention in communal conflict and how it affects the risk of conflict recurrence. Essay I finds that conflicts that are located in an economically important area, revolve around land and authority, or involve groups with ethnic ties to central rulers are more likely to prompt military intervention by the government. Essay II finds that ethnic ties, in turn, condition the impact that government intervention has on the risk of conflict recurrence. The other two essays are based on systematic analysis of qualitative sources, including unique and extensive interview material collected during several field trips to Kenya. Essay III finds that government bias makes it more difficult for the conflict parties to resolve their conflict through peace agreements. Essay IV finds that by engaging in governance roles otherwise associated with the state, non-state actors can become successful local peacemakers. Taken together, the essays make important contributions by developing, assessing and refining theories concerning the prospects for communal conflict resolution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Peace and Conflict Research, 2017. p. 48
Series
Report / Department of Peace and Conflict Research, ISSN 0566-8808 ; 113
Keywords
communal conflict, local conflict, non-state conflict, land conflict, conflict resolution, mediation, conflict management, intervention, ethnic politics, political bias, governance, sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-324928 (URN)978-91-506-2650-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-10-06, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-09-15 Created: 2017-08-18 Last updated: 2019-11-05

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