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Full Access Peace Operations and the Political: A Pacific Reminder of What Really Matters

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Peace Operations and the Political: A Pacific Reminder of What Really Matters

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The overwhelming focus of peace support operations to-date has been on providing ‘technical’ solutions, the aim being to refurbish broken countries through constitutions and institutions in the mould of the ‘liberal peace’. The ‘political’, referring specifically to the socio-cultural value systems by which humans live together, is either kept out of the spotlight or discussed in terms of how to overcome ‘pernicious’ indigenous practices. This article contributes to the growing chorus of critique which presses for political considerations to be elevated to the fore. Its original contributions come principally in two forms: first, by exploring how a ‘complex social systems’ lens can supplant the inadequate conventional, reductionist view of mission environments; and second, by employing recent fieldwork in the Pacific islands to illustrate how a failure to heed such insights means that peace support operations risk failure.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Social Research, The University of Queensland

10.1163/187541111X613605
/content/journals/10.1163/187541111x613605
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
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The overwhelming focus of peace support operations to-date has been on providing ‘technical’ solutions, the aim being to refurbish broken countries through constitutions and institutions in the mould of the ‘liberal peace’. The ‘political’, referring specifically to the socio-cultural value systems by which humans live together, is either kept out of the spotlight or discussed in terms of how to overcome ‘pernicious’ indigenous practices. This article contributes to the growing chorus of critique which presses for political considerations to be elevated to the fore. Its original contributions come principally in two forms: first, by exploring how a ‘complex social systems’ lens can supplant the inadequate conventional, reductionist view of mission environments; and second, by employing recent fieldwork in the Pacific islands to illustrate how a failure to heed such insights means that peace support operations risk failure.

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/content/journals/10.1163/187541111x613605
2012-01-01
2016-12-11

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