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Power-sharing in Africa's war zones: how important is the local level?


Mehler, Andreas; Tull, Denis M.; Zanker, Franzisca; Simons, Claudia


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Abstract Research on power-sharing in Africa remains silent on the effects of national peace agreements on the sub-national level. Conversely, most armed conflicts originate and are fought in (or over) specific areas. A plausible hypothesis would be that for power-sharing to have the desired pacifying effect throughout the national territory, it needs to be extended to the local level. Based on fieldwork in six former hotspots in Liberia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) we find that there is hardly any local content, including local power-sharing, in national agreements. However, contrary to our hypothesis, neither local content (inclusion of actors or interest) nor local-power-sharing (either introducing a local power balance or monopoly) are indispensable to effectively bring about local peace, at least in the short-term. On the contrary, it might even endanger the peace process. The importance of the sub-national level is overestimated in some cases and romanticised in others. However, the history of spatial-political links, centralised policies, and the establishment of local balances or monopolies of power ultimately play an important role.
Thesaurusschlagwörter Liberia; Burundi; Democratic Republic of the Congo; war; civil war; conflict; domestic security; political power; peacekeeping; peace process; West Africa; Central Africa; Africa
Klassifikation politische Willensbildung, politische Soziologie, politische Kultur; Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, Sicherheitspolitik
Freie Schlagwörter power-sharing
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2013
Seitenangabe S. 681-706
Zeitschriftentitel The Journal of Modern African Studies, 51 (2013) 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X13000645
ISSN 1469-7777
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz Deposit Licence - Keine Weiterverbreitung, keine Bearbeitung
Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.