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Eyes wide shut?: persistent conflict and liberal peace interventions in Nepal and Sri Lanka

Rasaratnam, Madurika and Malagodi, Mara (2012) Eyes wide shut?: persistent conflict and liberal peace interventions in Nepal and Sri Lanka. Conflict, Security and Development, 12 (3). pp. 299-327. ISSN 1467-8802

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Identification Number: 10.1080/14678802.2012.703536


The decisive, albeit different, endings of armed conflict in Sri Lanka and Nepal and subsequent post-war developments challenge key assumptions about conflict that have informed post-Cold War international efforts to produce peace in such conflict zones. International intervention—including in Sri Lanka and Nepal—characterises armed conflict as sustained by specific political economies that can only be stably resolved by establishing liberal democracy and market economics. This paper examines liberal peace engagement in Sri Lanka and Nepal to challenge a crucial assumption of the persistent conflict thesis, namely the separation between political contestation and armed conflict. It argues that the divergent post-conflict outcomes of continuing ethnic polarisation in Sri Lanka and constitutional reform in Nepal reveal strong continuities in the dynamics of pre-war, war and post-war politics. This continuity challenges the presumed separation of politics and violence that drove international engagement to produce liberal peace and suggests that such engagement, far from encouraging reform, may have (inadvertently) sustained conflict in both cases.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2012 09:13
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2024 03:09

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