By Sarah Holt (auth.)
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Additional info for Aid, Peacebuilding and the Resurgence of War: Buying Time in Sri Lanka
72 Despite misgivings as to their potential to contribute to greater instability, liberal economic theories are a dominant part of the peacebuilding discourse. During the late 1990s a new strand of research emerged taking a somewhat different view on the economic causes of conflict. This was due to the ending of the Cold War, and what Mary Kaldor called the ‘new wars’, that had materialised since. 73 David Keen argued these ‘new wars’ were not irrational or anarchic, on the contrary ‘it is the re-ordering of society in particular ways.
Galtung, Ryan and Lederach all emphasise the importance of structural change, with Ryan and Lederach espousing the potential of peacebuilding projects to unite opposing groups, and the importance of taking a grassroots approach. There is no strict or agreed definition for peacebuilding, so based on the preceding discussion, it can be loosely described as any activities undertaken during the period of transition from war to peace, the sum of which amounts to a situation where peace is sustained; and as such, peacebuilding is a process.
The emphasis of development agents on the importance of economic growth has led to the wide scale application of economic liberalisation strategies with the aim of bringing about increased wealth, and reduced poverty. The main tool for this has been through the provision of loans and grants to ‘developing countries’ by the Bretton Woods institutions of the IMF and the World Bank, tied to economic stabilisation and adjustment programmes. There are widespread misgivings regarding the record of marketisation and civil war.