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Project: Peacebuilding amidst violence – localising the security-development nexus

Our project looks into the generally acclaimed, but contested, imprecise and often misused nexus between the peacebuilding arenas of security and development. We aim to map how the nexus travels from its origin in donor headquarters to its application in the localized violent context.

Project information

Project manager at Linnaeus University
Manuela Nilsson
Other project members
Joakim Öjendal (project manager), Maria Stern and Jan Bachmann, Gothenburg University, Sweden
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University; Gothenburg University, Sweden; partners in Colombia, DRC, Somalia and Cambodia
Financier
Vetenskapsrådet (the Swedish Research Council)
Timetable
1 Jan 2016-31 Dec 2018
Subject
Peace and Development Studies (Department of Social Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences)

More about the project

Building peace in societies broken by prolonged periods of conflict where levels of violence continue to be high is one of today's biggest challenges. Our project looks into the generally acclaimed, but contested, imprecise and often misused nexus between the peacebuilding arenas of security and development. We aim to map how the nexus travels from its origin in donor headquarters to its application in the localized violent context using four case studies: DRC, Somalia, Cambodia and Colombia (my case).

Increasingly, peacebuilding is performed amidst ongoing violence and in anarchic contexts. This tendency is deepening the crisis of peacebuilding which by now is well documented. Predictably, the international community keeps pursuing intervention with either military means or with a one-dimensional liberal peace approach through intrusive interventions, has had difficulties dealing with this more complex situation. As a consequence of the imperative of pursuing peacebuilding in the midst of violence, the theoretical metaphor of a security-development nexus is naturally brought forward, heralded as it is in the policy world. This "nexus" is however contested, misused and imprecise, allowing vested interests to liberally pursue their agenda.

In this project we aim to "follow" how the nexus is created in the hierarchies of donor headquarters and travels to its localized version, and catch how this "nexus" is being transformed, re-created, and resisted in the localized context for which it is ultimately created, but rarely applied, and even less researched. We have selected four case studies which have explicitly worked with the security-development nexus, namely DRC, Somalia, Colombia, and Cambodia. They have all experienced difficulties, but also responded with innovative and progressive attempts at peacebuilding.