New article: ‘Routine Peace: Technocracy and peace building’, Cooperation and Conflict, 47(3): 287-308

3 Sep

This article seeks to unpack the implications of technocracy for contemporary peace-building. It aims to illustrate how the bureaucratic imperative explains much about the ascendancy of certain actors to positions of prominence on the peace-building landscape, and the types of activities that these actors engage in. In line with world polity theory, it is interested in the construction and institutionalization of discourses, understandings, expectations and practices of peace-building. It argues that there has been a ‘technocratic turn’ in relation to peace-building, whereby there has been a gradual but persistent trend towards the application of technocracy in the framing of conflict and approaches to it. Two key claims advanced on behalf of technocracy – neutrality and efficiency – are discussed. The article then argues that a complex mix of structural and proximate factors have reinforced the technocratic turn in peace-building. It concludes by considering the extent to which the discursive framing of conflict by key actors predetermines their conflict response. The article is primarily an exercise in conceptual scoping, though it can also be read as a contribution to the critique of the liberal peace and considerations of resistance and agency in peace-building contexts.

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