Building a liberal peace? A critical analysis of South Africa's engagement in the DRC 2003-2008

Hansen, Camilla Solvang (2012-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In recent years there has been an increase in the amount of research critiquing international complex peacebuilding operations. Some of this critique is rooted in critical theory and argues how a universal replicated approach to peace and development, namely the liberal peacebuilding, possibly represents an impediment to peace itself. The liberal peacebuilding, which merges peacebuilding and statebuilding, is founded on a “Western” liberal agenda promoting political and economic liberalisation. The contemporary peacebuilding project is seen as given, with a specific unquestionable outcome, namely a liberal state. Furthermore, assumptions about the applicability of this approach, particularly in conflict areas in the South, are disputed. As regional leading states are becoming more involved in peace processes and development in their backyards, this study aims to investigate the peacebuilding agenda of such actors. South Africa has marked itself as an important actor in peacemaking and increasingly as a significant peacebuilding partner on the continent, through multilateral as well as bilateral channels. By looking at South Africa‟s peacebuilding role in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from 2003 to 2008, this study aims at establishing whether South Africa, as a regional actor, promotes a liberal peacebuilding. This study concludes by discussing how there is little evidence to suggest that South Africa‟s strategy for peacebuilding in the DRC is differing from the liberal peacebuilding consensus. It seems evident that South Africa‟s vision of African solutions to African problems and an African Renaissance is in fact guided by the liberal peacebuilding agenda and the underlying liberal norms. Is it not the aim of this study to critique the intentions of peacebuilding. Rather, it is the assumptions about what kind of peace the liberal peacebuilding promotes that need further analysis. Through a critical theory approach this study goes beyond current assumptions about the liberal peacebuilding project and questions the foundation on which liberal peacebuilding is built. This study aims at challenging the ontology and epistemology of the current peacebuilding debate in its theoretical approach as well as its scope. The intention is to shed light on and establishing a basis for a better and more nuanced understanding of the nature of peacebuilding by including the strategy and practice of regional actors in its analysis.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In die onlangse verlede is dit waargeneem dat daar 'n verhoging was in die hoeveelheid navorsing wat kritiek lewer op operasies van internasionale komplekse vredesopbou. Sommige van hierdie kritiek is gewortel in kritiese teorie en redeneer oor hoe 'n universele gerepliseerde benadering tot vrede en ontwikkeling, naamlik liberale vredesopbou, moontlik 'n struikelblok tot vrede verteenwoordig. Liberale vredesopbou, wat vredesopbou paart met die bou van staat, is gegrond in 'n "Westerse" liberale agenda, wat politieke en ekonomiese liberalisering bevorder. Die kontemporêre vredesopbou projek word geag soos dit voor kom, met 'n spesifieke onbetwisbare uitkoms, naamlik 'n liberale staat. Verder word daar aannames oor die toepaslikheid van hierdie benadering betwis, veral in gebiede van konflik in die Suid. Siende dat toonaangewende streeks-state meer betrokke raak in vredesontwikkeling in hul agterplase, stel hierdie studie ten doel om die vredesopbou agenda van sulke akteurs te ondersoek. Suid-Afrika het onlangs homself gemerk as 'n belangrike speler in vredesbou en al hoe meer as 'n beduidende vredesopbou vennoot op die vasteland, deur middel van multi-laterale asook bilaterale kanale. Deur te kyk na die vredesbou rol van Suid-Afrika in die Demokratiese Republiek van die Kongo (DRK) vanaf 2003 tot 2008, is hierdie studie gerig om vas te stel of Suid-Afrika, as 'n plaaslike akteur, liberale vredesopbou bevorder. Hierdie studie sluit af deur te bespreek hoe min bewyse daar is wat voor stel dat Suid-Afrika se strategie vir vredesopbou in die Demokratiese Republiek van die Kongo verskil van die liberale vredesopbou konsensus. Dit dui duidelik daarop dat Suid-Afrika se visie aansiende Afrika-oplossings vir Afrika-probleme en 'n Afrika-renaissance in werklikheid gelei word deur die liberale vredesopbou agenda asook as die gepaartgaande onderliggende liberale norme. Dit is nie die doel van hierdie studie om bedoelings van vredesopbou te kritieseer nie. Inteendeel, dit is die aannames oor die soort van vrede wat liberale vredesopbou bevorder wat verdere analise benodig. Deur middel van 'n kritiese teoriebenadering gaan hierdie studie verder as die huidige aannames oor die liberale vredesopbou projek en vra beduidende vrae oor die fondamente waarop liberale Vredesopbou gebou is. Hierdie studie stel ten doel om op die dieontologie en epistemologie van die huidige vredesopbou debat uit te daag in sy teoretiesebenadering, sowel as omvang. Die bedoeling is om gelyktydig lig te werp sowel as 'n basis vir beter en meer genuanseerde begrip te stig vir vredesopbou van die aard, deur insluiting van die strategie en praktyk van die streeks-akteurs in hierdie analise.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20377
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