Illiberal Peace? Authoritarian modes of conflict management
Cooperation and Conflict
In a contested international order, ideas of liberal peacebuilding are being supplanted by state-centric, authoritarian responses to internal armed conflicts. In this article we suggest that existing research has not yet sufficiently recognised this important shift in conflict management practice. Scholarship in peace and conflict studies has avoided hard cases of ‘illiberal peace’, or categorises them simply as military victories. Drawing on accounts of state responses to conflicts in Russia, Sri Lanka, China, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Turkey, we develop an alternative conceptual framework to understand authoritarian conflict management as a form of wartime and post-conflict order in its own right. Although violence is central to these orders, we argue that they are also dependent on a much wider range of authoritarian policy responses, which we categorise in three major domains: firstly, discourse (state propaganda, information control and knowledge production); secondly, spatial politics (both military and civilian modes of controlling and shaping spaces); and thirdly, political economy (the hierarchical distribution of resources to produce particular political outcomes). In conclusion, we propose a research agenda that moves on from discussions of liberal peace to examine hard cases of contemporary conflict and conflict management.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE Publications via the DOI in this record
Published online 23 April 2018