Building Peace after War
: The Contributions of Local Infrastructures for Peace in Postconflict Liberia

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Using the case of Liberia, this study explores the ways and extent to which Local Infrastructures
    for Peace (henceforth acronymised as LIPs) contribute to peacebuilding in post-conflict
    societies. Overall, findings of this study demonstrate that despite their challenges and
    shortcomings, local or community based structures such as LIPs contribute significantly to
    peacebuilding. They do so, through their efforts, initiatives and interventions in two essential
    components of peacebuilding-- conflict transformation and conflict prevention- thus enhancing
    peaceful relations and addressing the structural causes and impacts of the civil war respectively.
    The study engages peacebuilding debates through a critical lens critiquing liberal peace and its
    alienation of local actors, structures and mechanisms while unpacking and providing nuanced
    perspectives on the relevance of these structures in the conduct of peace. Hence, the study
    posits that peacebuilding devoid of the recognition and inclusion of local structures and
    capacities runs the risk of side-lining sectors as well as peace benefactors within post-conflict
    spaces, resulting in a peace that is fragile, incomplete and unsustainable. The result of the study
    is informed by empirical data derived from 78 interviews, 21 focus group discussions (FGDs)
    and observations, collated during a four-month field study in 11 localities in Liberia. The
    empirical data is supplemented with secondary data resources including analysis of journal
    articles, reports, books and other digital materials with explicit focus on infrastructures for
    peace and its related LIPs as well as peacebuilding theories and praxis.
    The study contributes significantly to peacebuilding theories and research. It adds to the
    debates on local peacebuilding, liberal peace and infrastructures for peace. It questions the
    hegemony of liberal peace and the ‘illiberal’ labelling of local or community-based structures
    and approaches while making a case for the recognition and inclusion of the latter in
    peacebuilding. It also contributes to emerging local peacebuilding concepts of everyday peace
    and hybridity, reinforcing their relevance in theory and field of practice. The study proposes
    an analytical framework which would contribute to future research, serving as a foundation for
    further exploration of the work of LIPs and infrastructures for peace in general in post-conflict
    societies. Additionally, the framework would enhance understanding of the ‘local’ in
    peacebuilding lexicon, which is still in its nascent stages.
    Date of Award2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorMiho Taka (Supervisor), Gordon Crawford (Supervisor) & David Curran (Supervisor)

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