Civil Society Capture: Top-down interventions from below?

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Driven by the failure of internationally led top-down peacebuilding interventions, international donors have increasingly posited that civil society actors can play a crucial role in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. This has led to a notable increase in the support for civil society in order to integrate local perspectives into peacebuilding and statebuilding interventions over the past decades. Using the case of Cyprus, this paper challenges this premise and argues that this support continues to create homogenized discourses that are not representative of the diversity of local notions of peace. Rather, most types of international support cause civil society actors to adapt their agendas to external priorities, and exclude alternative, less professionalized and critical voices. Local peace actors who resist liberal governmentality have access neither to the monetary support needed to sustain their peace work, nor to international protection for their cause. At the same time, those actors working in line with the international endeavour remove themselves from the ‘everyday’ of local realities so that peace interventions yet again fall into the old trap of top-down interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-489
JournalJournal of Intervention and Statebuilding
Issue number4
Early online date10 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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