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Goodhand, Jonathan (2008) 'War, Peace and the Places In Between: Why Borderlands are Central.' In: Pugh, Michael, Cooper, Neil and Turner, Mandy, (eds.), Whose Peace? Critical Perspectives on the Political Economy of Peacebuilding. London: Palgrave, pp. 225-244. (New Security Challenges Series)

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Wherever there is violent conflict, boundaries and borders are taken seriously. As the quote above implies, boundaries play an ambiguous role, acting simultaneously as source of security and antagonism, inclusion and exclusion. Which boundaries become salient and on which side of the boundary one stands may make the difference between life and death. Both war fighting and peacebuilding are in essence collective action problems involving processes of ‘debordering’ and ‘rebordering’. Because they are perceived to be so important, the transition from war to peace involves complex and always conflictual bargaining about the nature of physical and social boundaries. Peace processes that are insensitive to boundary politics risk re-igniting conflict rather than consolidating the peace. In Sri Lanka, for instance, a bipolar model of negotiations, based on the assumption that there were two coherent conflicting parties — the Sri Lankan government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) controlling contiguous ‘real estate’ in the south and northeast respectively — failed to accommodate the complex intra-group divisions which ultimately tore the peace process apart.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Development Studies
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
ISBN: 9780230573352
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2009 10:59

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