Reflecting a growing awareness of the need to integrate security and development agendas in the field of conflict management, the authors of this original volume focus on the case of the Pacific Islands. In the process, they also reveal the sociopolitical diversity, cultural richness, and social resilience of a little-known region. Their work not only offers insight into the societies discussed, but also speaks to the realities of political community and statebuilding efforts throughout the developing world.
Peacebuilding supports the emergence of stable political community in states and regions struggling with a legacy of violent conflict. This then raises the question of what political community might mean in the state in question. International peacebuilding operations have answered that question in terms of the promotion of conventional state-building along the lines of the Western Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) model as the best path out of post-conflict state fragility and towards sustainable development and peace. This article argues for peacebuilding beyond notions of the liberal peace and constructions of the liberal state. Rather than thinking in terms of fragile states, it might be theoretically and practically more fruitful to think in terms of hybrid political orders, drawing on the resilience embedded in the communal life of societies within so-called fragile regions of the global South. This re-conceptualization opens new options for peacebuilding and for state formation as building political community.
Globalization, suggest the authors of this collection, is creating new opportunities-some legal, some illicit-for armed factions to pursue their agendas in civil war. Within this context, they analyze the key dynamics of war economies and the challenges posed for conflict resolution and sustainable peace. Thematic chapters consider key issues in the political economy of internal wars, as well as how differing types of resource dependency influence the scope, character, and duration of conflicts. Case studies of Burma, Colombia, Kosovo, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka illustrate a range of ways in which belligerents make use of global markets and the transnational flow of resources. An underlying theme is the opportunities available to the international community to alter the economic incentive structure that inadvertently supports armed conflict.