1. Gëzim Visoka (2016), Peace Figuration after International Intervention: Intentions, Events and Consequences of Liberal Peacebuilding, London: Routledge.
This book examines the adverse impacts of liberal peacebuilding in conflict-affected societies. It introduces ‘peace figuration’ as a new analytical framework for studying the intentionality, performativity, and consequences of liberal peacebuilding. The work challenges current theories and views and searches for alternative non-conflicted research avenues that are suitable for understanding how peacebuilding intentions are made, how different events shape peace outcomes, and what are the consequences of peacebuilding interventions. Drawing on detailed case studies of peacebuilding in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Timor-Leste, the book argues that attempts to build peace often fail to achieve the intended outcomes. A figurational view of peacebuilding interventions shows that post-conflict societies experience multiple episodes of success and failure in an unpredictable trajectory. This book develops a relational sociology of peacebuilding impact, which is crucial for overcoming static measurement of peacebuilding successes or failures. It shows that international interventions can shape peace but, importantly, not always in the shape they intended. This book will be of much interest to students of statebuilding, peacebuilding, war and conflict studies, security studies and IR. This book provides an original contribution to the contemporary peacebuilding studies by developing a figurational sociology of peacebuilding interventions. It will be of much interest to students of peace and conflict studies, international political sociology, and international relations.
‘Critical thinkers have long been calling for an empirical analysis of the sociology of peace interventions, as well as their relationality with the subjects of those interventions. Visoka’s book moves the debate further in this direction with a fascinating analysis of key aspects of international peace interventions in Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo and Timor Leste, measuring intentionality against outcomes. Visoka’s superb book illustrates how consequences flow from such interventions, often undermining their attempts to achieve specific goals, and placing political development upon an alternative trajectory.’ – Oliver P. Richmond, University of Manchester, UK
‘This excellent volume brings new insights into one of the defining international challenges of our time: how to support peace and reconstruction in post-conflict societies in a way that is both effective and legitimate. The idea of ‘peace figuration’ takes the debate forward into new theoretical directions, and the book draws upon important empirical illustrations. It is highly recommended to researchers and students alike.’ – Edward Newman, University of Leeds, UK
‘Gëzim Visoka’s achievement is to reconceptualise peacebuilding as relational processes. Peace Figuration analyses a Clausewitzian clash of relations in which the best laid strategies and expectations, posited as common interests in a clear victory for peace, are constantly jeopardised by frictions. Visoka challenges the problem-solving, lessons-learned approach to peacebuilding by identifying the sociological essence of peace and the huge significance of unintended outcomes. Many of these outcomes lie in the uncertain futures of war-affected societies, likely to rebound disconcertingly against ‘liberal’ power. This absorbing analysis will engage a wide readership of students and policy-makers.’ – Michael Pugh, Emeritus Professor University of Bradford, UK
‘Gëzim Visoka has made a major contribution both theoretically and empirically to the study of liberal peacebuilding. Theoretically, he takes further the recent application of Norbert Elias’s sociological ideas to the field of international politics (thus also helping to rescue sociology from its increasingly narrow, domestic, short-term and policy-orientated foci). And his case studies explain the unpredicted outcomes of three well-intentioned interventions.’ – Stephen Mennell, Professor Emeritus, University College Dublin, Ireland