The State of Affirmation in Peacebuilding: Locating Pragmatic Transitions

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


Peacebuilding’s history has undergone several stages, all characterised by a contestation between normative perspectives, realist power struggles and pragmatism. The rediscovery of internal violent conflict after the Cold War was accompanied by a period of conceptual authority: the creation of liberal democratic political institutions in the process of statebuilding should enable peace and stability. Failure to achieve the aspired success impelled peacebuilding to embrace the critique raised by the local turn and other approaches. Contextualised approaches and knowledge should provide a new background for useful interventions. However, the acceptance of context and the generation of respective knowledge overwhelmed peacebuilding. The eventual recognition of failure pushed peacebuilding into affirming its environmental circumstances. A transitional approach based on principled pragmatism, constructed out of existing, hitherto neglected practices in peace processes, may be able to provide a possible answer to this state of affirmation.


Peacebuilding Conflict resolution Conceptual authority Contextual authority Affirmation Local turn Pragmatic peace 


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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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