Franchised States and Ownershipping

  • Niels Nagelhus Schia
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


How does peacebuilding organize people within systems of power and authority? In this book I address the ways in which current global peacebuilding processes challenge established notions of the state and different conceptions of sovereignty. Adopting a studying-through approach further enabled me to trace aspects and activities across several organizational levels and geographical sites during fieldwork: (i) the UN Security Council, (ii) peacebuilding bureaucracy and policy-making in DPKO in New York, and (iii) the implementation level and peacebuilding process in Liberia. Peacebuilding activities turned Liberia into an object of governing. This produced certain paradoxical processes, whereby the UN, in seeking to build the state, also became the state. By viewing this through anthropological perspectives on organizations and sovereignty, it was possible to think of peacebuilding as a method of distributing concepts and ideas about states and state capacities and of Liberia as a franchised state. While sovereign states are generally perceived to be the main building blocks of the international system, and thus also the most common departure for studies of the international system, I conversely put the international system in the foreground for attention and analysis. In this way I allow the anthropological approach to function as a form of criticism. By approaching this system backwards, it is possible to detect, describe, and interpret taken-for-granted assumptions.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Nagelhus Schia
    • 1
  1. 1.NUPIOsloNorway

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