Between Partnership and Power Imbalance

Monograph by Samantha Ruppel examines locally based civilian conflict management

Bunte Farbkleckse und Peace-Zeichen

„Abstract Peace“, Foto: Jeffrey via flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

The joint management of conflicts by local and inter­national actors has a long tradition in German peace work and is becoming increas­ingly important in a globalized world. The peace processes of recent years have shown that they can only be success­ful if local actors are actively involved. However, cooperat­ion is often characte­rized by dependencies and power imbalances. While research to date has focused primarily on the relation­ship between local actors and the United Nations or other military inter­ventions, a systematic analysis of the partnership approach to cooperation has been lacking. To what extent does civilian peace work, conceived as a partnership, succeed in living up to its claim? And to what extent is coope­ration in civilian conflict management characterized by power asymmetries?

To address this gap, Samantha Ruppel’s monograph “Lokal verankerte Zivile Konflikt­bearbeitung zwischen Partnerschaft und Machtungleich­gewicht” looks at Civil Peace Service projects in Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The book explores the question, relevant to both academia and peace practitioners, of the extent to which there can be an equal partner­ship in the context of civilian conflict management. By centering the work on the opportunities and challenges of collaboration, it succeeds in focusing on the day-to-day activities, analyzing the actual processes and frictions of peace work, and making a valuable contribut­ion to critical peace studies and the discussion of hybridity and friction.

The German-language book has been published in the series “Studien des Leibniz-Instituts Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konflikt­forschung” at Springer. It is available as an open access publication on the Springer website.