Understanding effectiveness in peacekeeping operations: Exploring the perspectives of frontline peacekeepers
This project explores the experiences of frontline peacekeepers in order to understand a ground level view of effective peacekeeping. This thesis is influenced by critical peace studies and uses constructivist grounded theory as research theory and method. The research leads to modest theorising based on what those interviewed perceived as crucial elements of effective peacekeeping and how these insights might contribute to improving or re-visioning peacekeeping. Thus I include both problematizing and problem-solving in what is, I believe, a productive tension. In this thesis peacekeeping refers to organised action by third parties to prevent violence, protect civilians, and support local problem-solving by controlling or influencing belligerents and/or their proxies as well as local people, a definition constructed from this research and the literature. In existing research on peacekeeping, the opinions of frontline peacekeeping soldiers, police and civilians have rarely been considered in analysis of the effectiveness of a mission nor when theorising how peacekeeping works. My research reflects an assumption that there are differences in how effective peacekeeping is understood from the different perspectives and standpoints of elite or high level peacekeepers and academics who study peacekeeping and those of frontline peacekeepers. I assume there is value and important knowledge in the experience and perspectives of ground level peacekeepers which can contribute to the discussion of effective peacekeeping generally and a more emancipatory peacekeeping specifically. Utilising the above definition of peacekeeping, themes addressed here include how peacekeeping works on the ground to prevent violence, protect people and support local problem-solving through coercive and cooperative practices, with a particular focus on the importance of acceptance, local ownership and good relationships. In the eyes of peacekeepers, good relationships that are task oriented, cooperative and trusting are critical in peacekeeping. This thesis reflects my valuing nonviolent paths for addressing social and political conflicts, and my intention to make a contribution to more effective peacekeeping, oriented to increasing peace in conflict affected communities and countries.
Advisor: Devere, Heather; Clements, Kevin
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Peace and Conflict Studies
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Peacekeeping; Peacekeepers; effective peacekeeping; frontline peacekeepers; constructed grounded theory; relationship; local ownership; acceptance
Research Type: Thesis