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The legitimisation of post-conflict intervention : narrative frames of backwardness and progress.

Kappler, Stefanie (2018) 'The legitimisation of post-conflict intervention : narrative frames of backwardness and progress.', Political geography., 66 . pp. 130-138.


Much of the peace and conflict literature sustains the claim that, whilst intervention during war may require military and diplomatic tools, post-conflict peacebuilding intervention enables more locally-led and emancipatory approaches. This article focuses on the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) to ask whether a change in how international actors narratively frame their role vis-à-vis BiH confirms this assumed turning point between the conflict and post-conflict scenario. It first investigates the binary frame of ‘local backwardness’ and ‘international progressiveness’, which was promoted by the international community during the war and suggests that local actors were situated in an inferior time zone, in need of external help. Second, it analyses the European Union’s post-conflict intervention to find that there is a continued presence of the narrative frame of ‘backwardness vs progress’. Suggesting that the discursive framing of local actors as backwards serves as a legitimation of continued intervention, the article concludes that the alleged turning point between conflict and post-conflict situations is not clearly reflected in the interveners’ narratives on BiH.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2018 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:22 August 2018
Date deposited:07 September 2018
Date of first online publication:13 September 2018
Date first made open access:13 September 2020

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