What? Navigating Inclusion in Peace Processes

The Political Settlements Research Programme (PSRP) conducts research centrally focused on how peace processes attempt to revise political settlements to make them more inclusive, so as to end violent conflict. In particular we are interested in two forms of inclusion:

• forms of ‘horizontal’ inclusion between political and military leaders who have been former opponents, and
• forms of vertical inclusion between rulers (often in the form of new power-sharing coalitions of political and military elites), and the ruled (individual citizens who are part of wider social groups)

A tension often exists between an elite bargain necessary to ending a violent conflict (to which horizontal inclusion is aimed), and a broader social contract capable of providing for good government (to which vertical inclusion is aimed). Through a series of projects the research team comprised of a North-South Consortium of seven organisations over a six year period, we are using mixed methodologies to explore how actors within conflict societies and international interveners navigate through this tension.

How do they navigate inclusion? What types of trade-offs between different forms of inclusion do they encounter? How do and should they approach these trade-offs? What strategies do they use? How can pacts to end conflict, be broadened into more widely inclusive social contracts?

  • How do different types of political settlement emerge, and what are the actors, institutions, resources, and practices that shape them?
  • How can political settlements be improved by internally-driven initiatives, including the impact of gender-inclusive processes and rule of law institutions?
  • How, and with what interventions, can external actors change political settlements?

We take as our focus states that have had violent conflict and examine the peace processes by which they attempt to transition from that conflict towards a revised political settlement.

• Around 110 peace processes have taken place since 1990 – over half the world’s countries
• Lists of ‘fragile and conflict affected’ states show that many of these states have had formal peace processes: for example, 35 out of 47 countries that experience extreme or persistent poverty and are the focus of UK Aid, have had formalised peace processes

Negotiations centrally revolve around questions of inclusion, and indeed are now significantly constrained by international legal norms relating to inclusion. We therefore view these contexts as an important lens through which to explore how political settlements emerge, and the actors, institutions, resources and practices that shape them.

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About Our Research Prezi