This research project will contribute to the critical reflection on current peacebuilding practice. By analyzing accountability practices and their underlying assumptions, it sheds light on an aspect of peacebuilding that goes largely unnoticed, but which is highly influential, as it is reproducing dominant discourses and power hierarchies between actors in this policy field.
This PhD research project thus aims at critically analyzing the discourse on accountability and results-orientation in peacebuilding; and its underlying power relations. How is the ground on which results-orientation becomes an appropriate response to perceived problems of peacebuilding constituted? How do the dispositives of these discourses affect practice, and how do they relate to larger discourses beyond this policy field? How is legitimacy of peacebuilding constructed by different actors, and how are they drawing on ongoing discourses to create legitimacy? And, how do these dominant discourses de-legitimize and invalidate other accounts?
In terms of methods, this project relies on a genealogical analysis, combined with ethnographically oriented data production methods. It draws on empirical field research in the form of a case study in Myanmar, which aims at reconstructing competing discourses, and at analyzing how the dominant “Northern” perspective on this debate contrasts with the view of “Southern” organizations.