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States and Civil Societies following Civil Wars

States and Civil Societies following Civil Wars

(p.53) Three States and Civil Societies following Civil Wars
Strengthening Peace in Post-Civil War States
Philip G. Roeder
University of Chicago Press

This chapter argues that premature efforts to grow civil society may also make the peace more fragile. In particular, when the state is not yet reconstituted as a unified authoritative institution, but is cobbled together after a cease-fire as de facto jurisdictions awaiting a final agreement on the issues of independence, the attempt to grow civil society will foster attitudes and structures that further divide leaders and publics into separate communities. This outcome will deepen the conflict between competing nation-state projects and make peace more fragile and recurrence of war more likely. At the core of the problem of maintaining the peace is creating stakeholders—citizens who believe that peace serves their interests. The chapter expands on this theme and add two points: First, maintenance of the peace requires not only that “stakeholders” believe that peace (that is, abjuring the means of warfare) is in their interest, but that a particular peace (that is, the substance of the settlement on the issue of independence) is at least as good as another peace that they are likely to achieve through renewal of warfare. Second, to consider themselves stakeholders, participants must sense not only that their interests are being served by the peace, but also that they are empowered as partial owners of the postsettlement state.

Keywords:   peace, civil society, stakeholders, interests

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