Political Settlements can be defined as ‘the forging of a common understanding usually between political elites that their best interests or beliefs are served through acquiescence to a framework for administering political power’ (di John & Putzel 2009: 4).
More recently, development and peacebuilding actors have come to understand an ‘inclusive political settlement’ as important to peaceful coexistence. What constitutes an inclusive political settlement, and how should actors navigate inclusion?
- While the term ‘political settlement’ has remained somewhat unclear, the idea of ‘political settlement analysis’ has been useful in prompting consideration of how international development interventions take account of local political power structures and dynamics (see Bell 2015).
- Questions of inclusion are now central to political settlements work (Pospisil and Menocal).
- But the frame of analysis itself has been exclusive: the focus on elite pacts has meant that often women and gender issues are ignored (O’Rourke, Ni Aolain)
- Peace processes attempt to revise the political settlement, but thow up tensions between the attempt to get agreement between political/military protagonists to the conflict, and efforts to acheive a broader social commitment to a more holistic social contract.
- Peace process tend to produce ‘formalised political unsettlement’, characterised by ‘permanent transition’, where issues of inclusion need to be negotiated in an ongoing way (Bell and Pospisil; see also Nepal Accord).