Bureaucratic Entrepreneurship: Liberian Ministries, International Consultants, and Making Connections

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


The United Nations Security Council adopts broad mandates and resolutions concerning countries hosting a peacebuilding mission. Because these mandates and resolutions are results of compromises, consensus focus, and big politics, they have to be negotiated, interpreted, and adapted to the situations in the field or the implementation level. This creates a gap between the implementation level and the executive decision-making level and a need for the bureaucrats or the officials on the ground, to create ownership and interpret situations in the field in relation to Security Council mandates. Studying peacebuilding in Liberia through a focus on how formal schemes and informal processes impinge on one another illuminated parts of the peacebuilding process that involved statebuilding-like activities within Liberian ministries. In order for the Liberian government to be able to absorb the complexity of the international operation and presence in the country, these ministries needed assistance. This situation had opened the way for international consultants. The role of the international consultants in the Liberian ministries revealed the snowball effect on peacebuilding processes with regard to how other non-UN actors take on the responsibility for other tasks and projects pertaining to peacebuilding. This chapter explores the function of these consultants in the interface between the international and the national. The paper concentrates in particular on the consultant’s role in the making of new connections, disconnections, new formal stipulations, and thus in the making of new bureaucracy. This, in turn, also opens up for a discussion of the state and notions of sovereignty.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Nagelhus Schia
    • 1
  1. 1.NUPIOsloNorway

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