Introduction The Promise and Limits of Governance Incentives

Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


This book offers a critical examination of the common contemporary peacemaking and peacebuilding strategy known as power-sharing. It is a broad strategy, comprising not only power-sharing as traditionally understood, but also other governance incentives commonly offered to induce armed groups to negotiate peace agreements, and to implement peace agreements, such as resource-sharing, inclusion in security structures, and territorial autonomy.1 I argue that while these incentives often have appeal for armed groups, this appeal is often overrated, and may frequently generate institutional arrangements and political dynamics that are unstable in the medium to long term. A reevaluation of this strategy is sorely needed, as it is commonly deployed relatively uncritically, so integral is it to the so-called liberal peacebuilding consensus.2 This consensus, as I discuss in Chapter 1, presumes that the ideal outcome of peacebuilding after armed conflict is a liberal, capitalist state. However, experience has shown democratization and marketization to be destabilizing. Building on this critique, I argue that power-sharing and similar incentives can often reify existing cleavages in societies, increasing rather than decreasing the risk of conflict.


Institutional Arrangement United Nations Development Programme Armed Group Human Security Peace Agreement 
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Copyright information

© Chandra Lekha Sriram 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of East LondonUK

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