Post-Colonialism: A post-colonial perspective on peacebuilding

Vivienne Jabri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


It is not coincidental that much ‘peacebuilding’ activity is targeted at postcolonial societies. Some might argue that persistent conflict and fragmentation, the failure of governance, ongoing violations of human rights, and the failure of economic development render inevitable the imperative to intervene in order to ‘put things right’. It is this account or narrative of ‘failure’ that runs through and informs interventionist practices, the remit of which is primarily ‘governance’. This is also a developmentalist account, one that assumes target societies to be in the process of ‘catching up’, conforming to models drawn up in international organizations, national governmental agencies and the non-governmental sector that they sustain. The machinery of peacebuilding is, hence, vast; it is institutionally now strongly embedded in the bureaucratic and normative order of the international. The aim in this chapter is to provide an indication of how this machinery might be viewed from the vantage point of locations in the post-colonial world. This is no easy task theoretically, conceptually or methodologically, and as such, the pointers presented can only be indicative of the content of what a post-colonial perspective on peacebuilding might or should look like. Two structural forces, discursive and material, inform this vantage point: the colonial legacy and its continuing impact on the present, and the unequal structure of the global political economy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace
PublisherBFI Palgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781137407610, 9781137407597
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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