• Jan PospisilEmail author
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


Evaluated against its ambitious goals, peacebuilding has generated more failure than success over the last 25 years. Instead of having been able to solve conflict and contribute to a reconstruction of an inclusive political settlement after violent conflict, the most common outcome of peace processes has been the formalisation of existing political unsettlement. The answer peacebuilding wanted to give was to contextualise through knowledge and embrace the consequences of complexity in peace processes. However, these efforts proved too much to handle. Overwhelmed by its ambitions, peacebuilding reached a state of affirmation, in which reality has taken over and the belief in the feasibility of effective peacebuilding action vanished. A pragmatic transitional perspective may offer an opportunity to reclaim agency in this challenging yet partly accommodating context. Based on an empirical investigation into the everyday of peace processes, a heuristic typology of practices is developed that characterises pragmatic transitions: the provision of hooks, creative non-solutions, and disrelation.


Peacebuilding Affirmation Inclusion Peace processes Formalised political unsettlement Pragmatic transitions Pragmatism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ASPR—Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict ResolutionViennaAustria

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