Economics: Neoliberal Peace and the Politics of Social Economics

  • Brendan Murtagh


In Whose Peace? Critical Perspectives on the Political Economy of Peacebuilding, Michael Pugh, Neil Cooper and Mandy Turner note: ‘Peace processes and peacebuilding practices need political roots in local societies and political communities should have the freedom to set their economic priorities including protection of economic activities from the negative effects of global integration.’1 The punitive, even contradictory economic effects of liberal peacebuilding have been well researched and evaluated in the international relations (IR) and conflict literature.2 Pugh et al.3 argue that the priority is to resist pro-market ideologies in Western peace interventions by focusing specifically on local strategies that support ‘subaltern geographies of political economy’. What is less clear is what these subaltern economies are in practice, whether they are ever capable of reaching the necessary scale to resist global capital, and how we know whether they are genuinely reformist. Richmond and Mitchell4 show that the hybrid nature of liberal peacebuilding inevitably involves a combination of acceptance, co-option and resistance, and that the boundaries between these responses are notoriously fuzzy and confused. Moreover, such complexities are accentuated by the intensification of neoliberal peace, which privileges the market and growth in peacebuilding and state formation.5 But, as Peck and Tickell6 show, far from being an oppressive monolithic force, neoliberalism is variegated, ‘actually existing’ in and filtered through local institutional, legal and political cultures.


Social Enterprise Social Economic Social Entrepreneurship Social Entrepreneur Social Investment 
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© Brendan Murtagh 2016

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  • Brendan Murtagh

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