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Book Chapter: Disaster Governance in War-Torn Societies: Tsunami Recovery in Urbanising Aceh and Sri Lanka

Malin Åkebo

The chapter focuses on disaster governance in the context of the earthquake and tsunami that severely hit the war-torn areas of Aceh and Sri Lanka in December 2004. It explores how the tsunami response and recovery actions were influenced by the ongoing armed conflicts and how the process of tsunami recovery, in its own turn, shaped the politics of the violent conflicts. The chapter takes a closer look at the urban dimension of tsunami recovery and at urban–rural intersections. While the tsunami on the one hand opened up a window of opportunity for reaching a peaceful solution to the violent conflicts, at the same time, as illustrated in the chapter, the natural disaster also contributed to consolidate dividing lines between geographical localities, urban and rural societies and identity groups. The chapter points to the importance of recognising competing governance systems and how prior tensions, cleavages and political power struggles might be reproduced and accentuated in the light of environmental disasters. In conclusion, the chapter underlines the essential importance of taking context into account and of recognising the political processes at play so as to understand the response and recovery from environmental disasters in different conflict settings and societies.

In: Disaster Governance in Urbanising Asia / [ed] Michelle Ann Miller, Mike Douglass, Singapore: Springer, 2016, p. 85-107.


Book: Ceasefire Agreements and Peace Processes: A Comparative Study

Malin Åkebo

​This book analyses and compares ceasefire agreements as part of peace processes in intrastate armed conflicts.

Research repeatedly underscores the importance of ceasefire agreements in peace processes but suggests that they can influence such processes in fundamentally different ways. However, despite contradictory expectations, remarkably few studies have so far been devoted to systematic and in-depth analysis of ceasefire agreements in contemporary intrastate armed conflicts. This book contributes to filling this gap by using a process-oriented conflict dynamics approach to analyse and explain how ceasefire agreements are being influenced by and in turn influences the broader dynamics of peace processes. Empirically, the book focuses on the armed conflicts in Aceh (Indonesia) and Sri Lanka. Based on document studies and 57 interviews with key actors, it presents comparative insights and in-depth knowledge about ceasefire agreements in different contextual settings. The book problematizes the common assumption in the literature that ceasefire agreements create momentum in peace processes and pave the way to peace, and it provides a more nuanced analysis and understanding based on two empirical cases analysed within a comparative framework. In contrast to conventional wisdom, it demonstrates how ceasefires on the contrary also can have negative implications on peace processes.


Book Chapter: Democratization after Civil War: Timing and Sequencing of Peacebuilding Reforms

Anna Jarstad

The UN ambition to promote democratization via peacebuilding operations in post-civil war cases has largely failed. Suboptimal choices for democratization, such as power-sharing, are chosen as a result of the bargaining power of the former warring parties. Many issues, such as who belongs to the citizenry, are not settled and political parties not defined by the conflict lines have little chance of gaining power. While past experience shows that there is not one single pathway of democratization after civil war, it is suggested that these issues are important for democracy after civil war. For democracy to take root, it is also necessary to engage more seriously with the local networks and individuals who work to change behaviour and attitudes to become more democratic.

In: Building Sustainable Peace: Timing and Sequencing of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Peacebuilding / [ed] Arnim Langer and Graham K. Brown, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, p. 87-109.


Journal Article: The Resilient, the Remobilized and the Removed: Party Mobilization among Former M19 Combatants

Johanna Söderström

​Armed groups often transform into political parties, which involves a profound transformation of the organizational culture. How these parties condition the continued political mobilization of their members is unclear. Using life history interviews with former combatants of the armed group M19 in Colombia, this article demonstrates what aspects of the party mobilize and stymie their political mobilization. Through exploring three typical political life paths – the Resilient, the Remobilized and the Removed – this article demonstrates the long-term challenges of post-war politics, the role of the party, as well as the personal journey from (war and) peace to democracy.

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