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On Liberian secret societies and conflict resolution
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0462-6679
2019 (English)In: Nordic Journal of African Studies, ISSN 1235-4481, E-ISSN 1459-9465, Vol. 28, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent times have witnessed a rising interest in micro-level conflict resolution mechanisms in the form of religious and traditional leaders due to their perceived legitimacy central to peace. Based on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork, this article updates the decades old literature on Liberian secret societies to post-conflict realities, focusing especially on these leaders’ peacebuilding potential. While states remain the main instrument for upholding domestic order, the weak Liberian state continues to rely on societies for legitimacy in conflict resolution and governance alike. The article offers a contemporary look at the Liberian societies, and especially their uneasy relationship with the state: the two are so entwined that it is difficult to separate the two. Yet this also poses problems for the societies, as the proximity threatens their ultimately local legitimacy. While peacemakers and statebuilders alike are tempted to co-opt societies to gain legitimacy, the article questions whether this is always desirable or possible.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 28, no 1
Keywords [en]
Conflict Resolution, legitimacy, Liberia, secret societies, state-building
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot strategi och säkerhetspolitik
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-8680OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-8680DiVA, id: diva2:1338216
Available from: 2019-07-20 Created: 2019-07-20 Last updated: 2019-07-20

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Ilmari, Kähkö
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  • Other locale
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