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Why ideas matter: exploring the potential and limits of local civil society agency in peacebuilding

Ishkanian, Armine, Khalatyan, Mariam, Manusyan, Arpy and Margaryan, Nvard (2023) Why ideas matter: exploring the potential and limits of local civil society agency in peacebuilding. Journal of Civil Society, 19 (2). 193 - 211. ISSN 1744-8689

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Identification Number: 10.1080/17448689.2023.2206156


Drawing on research conducted with a range of actors in Armenia during the aftermath of the 2020 war over Nagorno Karabakh, we examine the potential and limits of local agency peacebuilding. In examining how agency is manifested and constrained in situations of conflict, we draw on social and political theories of agency and power to consider the dialogic interplay between actors, structures, and ideas. By adopting the framework of discursive institutionalism (Schmidt 2008), we analyse the importance of ideas in shaping politics and policy. We argue that in the field of peacebuilding in Armenia, the agency of local civil society actors is on the one hand affected by the liberal peacebuilding paradigm advanced by international actors and on the other hand, by hegemonic State and societal discourses about the conflict. Together, these have engendered forms of disciplinary power that have led to self-censorship and reticence among civil society actors, limiting their agency in peacebuilding.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2022 09:00
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2024 23:13

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