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Indigenising post-war state reconstruction. The Case of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

By Samuel G. Doe


Current approaches to post-war state reconstruction are primarily dominated by the\ud liberal peace thesis. These approaches tend to ignore the indigenous institutions,\ud societal resources and cultural agencies of post-conflict societies, although such\ud entities are rooted in the sociological, historical, political and environmental realities\ud of these societies. Such universalised and `best practice¿ approaches, more often than\ud not, tend to reproduce artificial states. The Poro and Sande are the largest indigenous\ud sodality institutions in the `hinterlands¿¿a pejorative term attributed to rural Liberia\ud and Sierra Leone. Both the Poro and Sande exercise spiritual, political, economic and\ud social authority. In this thesis, I use critical realism and the case study approach to\ud investigate: a) the extent to which the liberal peace practitioners who are leading state\ud reconstruction in Liberia and Sierra Leone recognised the role and potential utility of\ud the Poro and Sande institutions; b) the extent to which the Poro and Sande were\ud engaged; and c) the implications for the quality and viability of the reconstructed\ud states. This evidence-based research suggests that the liberal peace project sidelined\ud indigenous institutions, including the Poro and Sande, in the post-war recovery and\ud rebuilding exercises. The disregard for indigenous and emerging resources in the\ud context of state reconstruction in Liberia and Sierra Leone has contributed to the\ud resurgence of 19th century counter-hegemonic resistance from the sodality-governed\ud interior of both countries. At the same time, the reconstructed states are drifting back\ud towards their pre-war status quo. Authority structures remain fragmented,\ud kleptocracy is being restored, webs of militarised patronage networks are being\ud emboldened, and spaces for constructive dialogues are shrinking. This thesis\ud underscores the need for indigenisation as a complementary strategy to help reverse\ud the deterioration, and to maximise gains from massive investments in peacebuilding

Topics: Post-war, State reconstruction, Peace building, Africa, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Indigenous, Sodality, Institutions, Poro society, Sande, Indigenisation
Publisher: The School of Social and International Studies
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Bradford Scholars

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