Social contracts for peace: new research initiative
The limited success of conventional peacebuilding and statebuilding approaches has prompted a wide range of scholarly and policy critiques. They suggest that externally driven and technical approaches to peacebuilding and statebuilding can’t guarantee sustainable peace. Some also argue that while elite-driven political settlements may be important in establishing the foundations of more peaceful political orders, they also do not necessarily lead to a more nationally owned, lasting peace.
A new research initiative directed by Erin McCandless at The New School in the US focuses on the social contract as a means of revitalising thinking and practice about how lasting peace can be fostered in societies challenged by conflict and fragility. DLP’s Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal has joined the team of thematic and policy specialists who form the working group supporting the project and its researchers. Alina leads DLP's research on the theme of Political settlements and the politics of inclusion.
The project, Forging Resilient Social Contracts: States and Societies Building Sustainable Peace, will investigate three drivers of a resilient social contract:
- the progressive resolution of conflict and fragility issues through an evolving, inclusive, political settlement;
- the increasingly inclusive operation of effective and fair institutions; and
- the forging of social cohesion, both horizontally among individuals and groups and vertically between citizens and the state.
This research, which will unfold through early 2017, will use both exploratory and explanatory research methods, with an emphasis on qualitative context-rich data underpinned by survey data to support findings. Expected outputs include a series of thematic policy papers and a book, and a series of policy dialogues among scholars, practitioners and policy-makers. The project web page is still in development but early conversations about it can be followed on Twitter via @SC4Peace.
Image: Citizens protest in Brazil (Upsalon/Flickr)