Rethinking Post-war Security Promotion

The intensity and complexity of post-war violence routinely exceeds expectations. Many development and security specialists fear that, if left unchecked, mutating violence can potentially tip ‘fragile’ societies back into war. An array of ‘conventional’ security promotion activities are regularly advanced to prevent this from happening, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) and other forms of security sector reform (SSR). Meanwhile, a host of less widely recognised examples of security promotion activities are emerging that deviate from – and also potentially reinforce – DDR and SSR. Innovation and experimentation by mediators and practitioners has yielded a range of promising activities designed to mitigate the risks and symptoms of post-war violence including interim stabilisation measures and second generation security promotion interventions. Drawing on original evidence, this article considers a number of critical determinants of post-war violence that potentially shape the character and effectiveness of security promotion on the ground. It then issues a typology of security promotion practices occurring before, during and after more conventional interventions such as DDR and SSR. Taken together, the identification of alternative approaches to security promotion implies a challenging new research agenda for the growing field of security and development.