Friction-Avoiding Approaches

  • SungYong LeeEmail author
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


The case study chapters of this volume examine four behavioural patterns of local peacebuilders as stated above. They examine how the four types of ownership promotion have been employed in the two areas, focusing specifically on the strategies local actors utilize to develop their unique models of peacebuilding, the distinguishing features of each of these, and their limitations as models of authentically local peacebuilding. In this chapter, a non-frictional model of promoting local ownership is explored. In both Cambodia and Mindanao, a large number of local actors choose not to overtly challenge the demands from their international donors. Instead, they attempt to push forward their agenda in the conventional structure for international-local collaboration, by redefining and operationalising the themes proposed by donors and occasionally use smoke-and-mirror strategies. This empirical finding questions whether conventional assumptions of power disparity in favour of donors is indeed valid. The theoretical significance of friction-avoiding approaches as a model of ownership promotion was discussed from two perspectives. On one hand, it offers concrete empirical examples relevant to informal and subtle forms of resistance in local communities’ ‘everyday peacebuilding’. On the other hand, it discovers the presence of a dual structure of power: while international aid donors may control the official and financial aspects of peacebuilding, it is local actors who determine the unofficial/procedural/operational mechanisms.


Friction-avoding Contextualisation Smoke-and-mirror Biopower Dual power structure 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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