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Why Is Liberal Peace-building So Difficult? Some Lessons from Central America


  • Sabine Kurtenbach

    () (GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies)


The termination of war is mostly seen as a basis not just for recovery but for a fundamental transformation or change in development paths towards peace, stability and development. The Central American peace processes of the last decades were one of the first laboratories for the liberal peace-building paradigm which assumes that the threefold transformation to peace, democracy and market economy is a self-strengthening process leading to sustainable development. Although none of the three countries slipped back into war, serious deficits remain. This paper introduces an analytical framework that aims at interrelating the threefold transformation with the impact generated by four processes. These include the repercussions generated by the international system on a country’s society, its historical, cultural and social foundations, the legacies of violence and the peacebuilding initiatives the country concerned has witnessed. The comparative analysis of changes in the public security sector, the political system, conflict resolution and the use of resources show why there is so much path dependency that can explain the deficits of transformation.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabine Kurtenbach, 2007. "Why Is Liberal Peace-building So Difficult? Some Lessons from Central America," GIGA Working Paper Series 59, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:59

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    Peace-building; path-dependency; public security; political system; conflict resolution; resource use; Central America;

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