Daring to differ? Strategies of inclusion in peacemaking

KeywordsCivil society, gender, identity, mediation, peacebuilding, peace and securityCorresponding author

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Hirblinger and Landau (2020) - Daring to differ

Civil society, gender, identity, mediation, peacebuilding, peace and security
Corresponding author:
Andreas Timo Hirblinger, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Maison de la Paix, Chemin
Eugène-Rigot 2, Genève, GE 1211, Switzerland. Email andreas.hirblinger@graduateinstitute.ch
SDI0010.1177/0967010619893227Security DialogueHirblinger and Landau

Security Dialogue 51(4)
Inclusion has emerged as a prominent theme at the heart of peacemaking across the realms of theory, policy and practice. Mediation scholars, policymakers and practitioners have argued that inclusion is critical for ending armed conflicts (Krause et al., 2018; Nilsson, 2012; Yousuf, 2018) and building peaceful states and societies (Bell and Pospisil, 2017; Castillejo, 2014; Pospisil and Rocha Menocal, 2017; World Bank Group and United Nations, 2018). These insights have been accompanied by efforts to promote inclusive peacemaking through stronger international legal and policy frameworks (de Waal, 2017; Turner, 2019). However, despite its recent ubiquity, inclusion has remained an ill-defined term (Hellmüller, 2019). Calling for inclusive peace processes inevitably raises the questions of whom to include, how and why. Since peacemaking commonly entails the (renegotiation of core features of the state and society, discourses and practices of inclusion are critical (Lanz, 2011). Inclusion relates to a host of issues that are at the heart of armed conflict and its resolution, pertaining not only to political voice and representation, but to the identity of the included and their relationships. It thus appears that the seemingly benign and consensual idea of inclusion is, in fact, highly political.
This article seeks to problematize the research, policy and practice of inclusion by situating it in larger debates about what peace means and how it can be achieved. The idea of inclusion, if not the exact term, has long played an important role in in the study of peace. We therefore aim to bring the epistemic dimension of the term – theories that stipulate the relationship between inclusion and peace – into conversation with the emerging international policy framework on inclusive peacemaking, as well as with the practical efforts of mediation actors to promote inclusion in peace processes. We do so against the backdrop of debates about an agonistic peace within the critical peace, conflict and security literature, which builds on the assumption that peace processes entail the transformation of violent, antagonistic relationships between enemies into peaceful, agonistic relationships between adversaries in which difference can maintain a constitutive role in politics
(Aggestam et al., 2015; Maddison, 2015; Peterson, 2013; Rumelili and Çelik, 2017; Shinko, 2008). International peacebuilding, broadly conceived, has limited ability to engage constructively with difference, without either stigmatizing or silencing it (Bargués-Pedreny and Mathieu, 2018). This has implications for attempts at making peace processes more inclusive, since these are characterized by a reconfiguration and reforming of difference, in which new hardened identity traits emerge relationally and take a constitutive role in the new political order (Brigg, 2018; Hirblinger and Landau, 2018). The notion of an ‘agonistic peace suggests that political settlements require a complex network of adversarial relationships, in which conflicting needs and interests can be acted out – without resorting to violence that ultimately aims at the destruction of the Other, or the elimination of differences in the public sphere (Aggestam et al., 2015: 1738; Maddison, 2015: 1021). This article thus points to the politics behind the various approaches to inclusion, which are characterized by international peacemakers varying degrees of willingness to acknowledge, deal with and transform relationships of difference.
The article is based on a review of relevant scholarly literature on the topic, a content analysis of United Nations (UN) policy documents on mediation and peacemaking, and interviews with several experienced mediation professionals on their practices of inclusion. As a result, we first identify three main rationales put forth for inclusion that can be derived from peacemaking theory, and argue that these correspond with specific strategies of inclusion in peacemaking policy and practice. Importantly, these strategies also have implications for how the included are framed, and to what degree these framings allow for an agonistic politics to emerge. We argue that the various inclusion strategies varyingly allow for an articulation of agonistic difference, and that this lastly affects the kind of peace that can be achieved. In contrast to what some contributions on agonistic

Hirblinger and Landau
peace have suggested (Strömbom, 2019: 6), inclusion does not automatically enable contestation. As we argue, agonistic politics require a relational approach to the included, which neither brushes over difference, nor essentializes and augments single identity traits over others.
The article first discusses the rationales for inclusion that are put forward in peacemaking theory, by asking how scholars have viewed the relationship between inclusion and peace. It discusses three broad rationales for inclusion to increase the legitimacy of peace processes, to protector empower specific groups, or to transform relationships. We then turn to policy. The second part discusses how three corresponding inclusion strategies are represented in key UN documents that provide guidance on inclusive peacemaking, and demonstrates how these rely on framing the included in open, closed or relational terms.
In a final section, we ask how this is affecting practice. While efforts to foster inclusion are commonly associated with promoting broader participation of an openly defined public in order to increase the legitimacy of a given peace processes, international inclusion policy and practice has also been shaped by essentializing discourses that aim to protector empower specific groups. This leads to trade-offs and contradictions in current peacemaking practice, which we relate to an inchoate attempt to politicize peace processes through inclusion while legitimacy-seeking approaches to inclusion have tended to brush over the fundamental differences that characterize conflict, empowerment- and protection-seeking approaches have emphasized the struggles of specific groups and thus brought selected struggles to the fore. In response, we argue that a relational inclusion strategy can help identify the antagonistic relationships that underpin armed conflict and accommodate them in an agonistic peace.

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