Fringes of the Franchised State and UN Civil Affairs in Liberia

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


By focusing on empirical encounters between different systems in rural Liberia, this chapter underscores how informal processes adapt. The plasticity of peacebuilding contextualizes the intentions in formal processes, schemes, and stipulations, and leads to variations of peacebuilding. The chapter describes some of the challenges facing the UN and its efforts to adapt its peacebuilding activities to local needs. The chapter proceeds by illuminating conflicting power structures and cumbersome processes inherent in the peacebuilding project as such. By focusing on friction sites, the chapter takes another path than the tradition in the literature on peacebuilding that has tended to explain challenges as caused by “blind spots” concerning the role as external providers of material and ideational resources. Going back and forth between rural areas and the capital in Liberia provided a chance to trace this focus from the field where the work was being implemented to UNMIL headquarters where bureaucratic concerns to a larger extent dominated the agenda. This makes it possible to see how peacebuilding mandates, policies, and guidelines become contextualized through activities at the local level and thus describe and interpret connections and disconnections between the different levels in the peacebuilding machinery, further portraying Liberia as a franchised state.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niels Nagelhus Schia
    • 1
  1. 1.NUPIOsloNorway

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