Series: Spaces of Peace, Security and Development

 

Series editors: John Heathershaw, University of Exeter, UK; Shahar Hameiri, University of Queensland, Australia; Jana Hönke, University of Bayreuth, Germany; and Sara Koopman, Kent State University, USA

Spaces of Peace, Security and Development provides an interdisciplinary home for spatially based studies from scholars from a range of backgrounds, but in particular those who engage with one or more of: Area Studies, International Relations, Human Geography and Political Anthropology.

The series publishes research that moves away from purely abstract debates about concepts and focuses instead on fieldwork-based studies of specific places and peoples. It shows how particular spatial histories and geographic configurations can foster or hinder peace, security and development. It also encourages work that takes account of the new spatialities of conflict and charts the transnational practices of peace, security and development.

Spaces of Peace, Security and Development

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This chapter concludes the volume and brings together the argument of service-delivery, local interactions and vertical relationships as peacebuilding functions and local governments as actors in long-term local peacebuilding. Picking up on the particularities in the three municipalities, the chapter argues that the municipalities of Tyre, Bourj Hammoud and Saida play different roles and promote different types of peace(s). Tyre, through its close collaboration with national and international actors for local developments, grounds externally decided peacebuilding practices but does not autonomously drive local development. Bourj Hammoud, closely connected to the Armenian local majority, and a representative of the Armenian national minority, is a central actor in local peacebuilding for the Armenian community, while a marginal actor for other local communities. Saida works closely with national and international actors and successfully promotes local peacebuilding through these relationships. However, through its focus on visible projects such as the waste management plant and infrastructural developments, Saida is a partial actor in local peacebuilding, demonstrating its engineering skills but leaving social needs to other actors. Through an empirical exploration of local peacebuilding arguments in Lebanese municipalities, the book concludes that while municipalities have a role to play, their role is particular in each case. As this book shows, local government involvement is always contextual and political, performed through structures, activities and relationships, producing particular types of peace(s) on the ground.

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Introducing the book, Navigating the Local: Local Peacebuilding in Lebanese Municipalities, this chapter presents the local peacebuilding debate and the dilemma between promoting locally contextualized peacebuilding strategies and the need for knowledge on peacebuilding beyond isolated events and analytical concepts. As part of that introduction, the chapter discusses the shift towards decentering and ‘the local’ within studies of democracy, development and peacebuilding, and the meaning of smaller units, bottom-up processes and local agency in different local peacebuilding approaches. In addition, the chapter introduces local service delivery, local interactions and vertical relationships as peacebuilding functions. Finally, the chapter introduces the three Lebanese municipalities of Bourj Hammoud, Tyre and Saida and provides a brief note on the methodological approach.

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This chapter examines local governance in Lebanon in relation to Lebanese conflicts and peacebuilding. It discusses the Lebanese civil war and its aftermath, emphasizing developments in sectarian and political divides, modes of governance and present-day challenges. In addition, the chapter frames Lebanon and Lebanese municipalities within the local peacebuilding debate, illustrating how a particular regional approach to peacebuilding coexists with Western liberal intervention and a growing interest in municipalities as recipients of aid.

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This chapter discusses local interactions in the municipalities of Tyre, Bourj Hammoud and Saida as a peacebuilding function. The empirical discussions on structures for inclusion, daily interactions and inclusion in service delivery are analysed through the themes of participation, influence and fostering trust in the local government and trust between local communities. Empirically, the chapter scrutinizes formal and informal avenues for interactions to illustrate how local governments include the local population in peacebuilding or exclude it from the same. Such formal or informal structures of interaction include the constellation of municipal councils, interactions with the population as a local authority, or in relation to the provision of services to the local inhabitants. Although all three municipalities engage in local interactions, they do so in different ways, emphasizing contextualized ways of grounding local peacebuilding.

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Politics of Peacebuilding in Lebanese Municipalities

How is peace built at the local level?

Covering three Lebanese municipalities with striking sectarian diversity, Saida, Bourj Hammoud and Tyre, this book investigates the ways in which local service delivery, local interactions and vertical relationships matter in building peace. Using the stories and experiences of municipal councillors, employees and civil society actors, it illustrates how local activities and agencies are performed and what it means for local peace in Lebanon.

Through its analysis, the book illustrates what the practice of peacebuilding can look like at the local level and the wider lessons, both practical and theoretical, that can be drawn from it.

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This chapter explores service delivery in the municipalities of Tyre, Bourj Hammoud and Saida and how service provision relates to local peacebuilding through responsiveness, inclusiveness, municipal capacity as well as the idea of economic development. Empirically it scrutinizes the municipality’s role in waste management, infrastructural developments and providing for everyday needs of the population. The chapter demonstrates how service provision promotes an image of the municipality as responsive and capable, and therefore locally legitimate. On the other hand, the lack of services, or inadequate services and management, spurs discontent. As evident from this chapter, service delivery does not stand isolated from the surrounding context of each municipality. Service delivery in Tyre, Bourj Hammoud and Saida demonstrate how the three cases engage in local peacebuilding in diverse ways, creating different types of local peace. The local space and its interactions matter, displaying service delivery as a space where power, politics and feelings of belonging interact with local governments’ capacity to respond to local needs and thus become a legitimate actor promoting local peace.

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This chapter outlines the analytical framework used for analysing the role of local governments in local peacebuilding. First, the chapter discusses local service delivery, arguing that providing for local needs is central to local legitimacy, which essentially promotes stability and peace. Second, it discusses local interactions, crucial to ground peace in the everyday lives of the population, which make peacebuilding relevant for the population. Third, it discusses vertical relationships, emphasizing that they matter for peace because they enable other developments on the ground, connecting the local to a greater whole. In addition, the chapter conceptualizes service delivery, local interactions and vertical relationships as peacebuilding functions, highlighting that peacebuilding matters based on the function it performs, rather than the form of peace being built. As peacebuilding functions, the analytical focus is on peacebuilding practices, arguing that peacebuilding, and perceptions of peace, develop based on performance and local expectations on outcomes. As such, peacebuilding is non-linear, situated within local understandings of context, institutions and legitimacy, and performed through politics.

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This chapter discusses the notion of vertical relationships through complementarity, autonomy and agency, arguing that vertical relationships matter for other local developments, which in turn mitigate conflict. This chapter highlights a multi-level approach to local peacebuilding through vertical relationships between the municipality of Tyre, Bourj Hammoud and Saida and central state authorities, national political figures and international actors. In addition to discussing the municipalities’ relationships to these actors, the chapter analyses them in relation to local infrastructural developments and waste management. The chapter concludes that when vertical relationships promote a common vision, the municipality gains capacity and autonomy to pursue local developments with a peacebuilding potential. However, vertical relationships also differ and municipalities navigate different vertical relationships to pursue local goals. In Lebanon’s divided state and the polarization of the Middle East, such relationships may promote local peacebuilding through national and international divides, or pursue national peacebuilding goals at the expense of local peace.

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Despite occupying a subordinate position in the urban context, displaced people influence how cities are evolving, and shape their morphologies and patterns of growth. Their agency here is embedded in a political economy of rent-seeking that is intertwined with international aid. This chapter outlines the multiple facets and ambiguities of the clientelistic networks that underpin these rent-seeking practices and demonstrates how urban newcomers act within and through these networks to secure their survival. The creation of settlements associated with displacement can increase the value ascribed to land. The chapter links these processes to wider insights on the development of real estate markets for domestic urban capital, which are often driven by local and diasporic investors, and which accompany the infrastructural focus of global capital penetration in contemporary African cities. Comparatively highlighting distinctive aspects of camp urbanization in Somali cities, the chapter shows how the combination of protracted violence, urban reconstruction and mass in-migration has been accompanied by cycles of forced evictions that initiate nascent forms of urban gentrification.

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This conclusion ties together the analyses of the preceding chapters and further elaborates on how the findings speak to research undertaken in other global contexts where the displacement–urbanization nexus is prominent. It explains how moving back and forth between the urban settings and the wider relations in which emergent urban environments are entangled contributes to the analytical ‘worlding’ of cities at the global margins. The conclusion also reflects on how the book’s discussion of precarious urbanism could be interpreted in ongoing narrative contests around post-war urban reconstruction, and highlights how the issue of displacement connects contrasting discourses around both the violence and economic growth that underpin contemporary forms of camp urbanization in Somalia, Somaliland and beyond. It also reflects on limitations of the study and marks out important areas for future research, particularly in relation to the role of internationally supported state-building, the rise of new political actors and their influence on processes of camp urbanization.

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