The violence of statebuilding in historical perspective: implications for building peace in the modern world

You are invited to a POLIS seminar delivered by Professor Edward Newman on the violence of statebuilding.


This presentation forms one of the arguments in Professor Newman's forthcoming book, 'Understanding Civil Wars: Continuity and Change in Intrastate Conflict'.  In historical perspective statebuilding has often been violent because it threatens the interests of groups which are on the periphery of the process and it encounters resistance which must be subjugated. The consolidation of national political projects is a related process that has often been accompanied by significant armed conflict as groups with vying political visions compete for control of the agenda. Yet, in the twenty-first century scholars and policy analysts interested in peacebuilding in conflict-prone societies portray peacebuilding and statebuilding as complementary or even mutually dependent. International peacebuilding activities in post-conflict and conflict-prone societies – undertaken by international organisations and individual donor states – focus upon the creation or recreation of state institutions as a conciliatory process and as the key to peace and stability. This presentation will explore this apparent paradox and consider if there has been a historical transformation in the relationship between statebuilding and peace, and what implications historical statebuilding experience holds for international peacebuilding in the modern world.

There will be an opportunity for networking after the talk.

All welcome.