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Understanding Legitimate Authority: the local and everyday peacebuilding in an era of enhanced mobility

Principal Investigator: Professor Roger MacGinty, University of Manchester


International peacebuilding and stabilisation interveners regard enhanced partnerships at the local level as the solution to their problem of a lack of legitimacy among the intervened. Terms like local ‘ownership’, ‘partnership’ and ‘participation’ and conflict sensitivity litter recent peacebuilding, stabilisation and governance projects and programmes. Yet it is not clear what, who or where constitutes local legitimate authority . This research seeks to:

1. Understand – through comparative research – what the local means in terms of legitimacy, and 

2. Investigate how meaningful interactions can be had between interveners (and their proxies) and actors and networks at the local level.

All of this would be mindful that we live in an era of enhanced mobility – of people, capital, ideas and technologies. Our project would be comparative, based on fieldwork in three post conflict zones (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia and Lebanon) and three policymaking centres (New York, Washington and London), and orientated towards policy-focused engagement with governments, INGOs and local level actors

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