In recent scholarly literature, this assumption is the object of rising criticism: Some writers argue that economic liberalisation efforts are part of the problem rather than the solution. Others point out the dilemmas of imposing democracy with authoritarian, or even autocratic, means. Others again argue that even the meanings of democracy and peace, as well as the means to their achievement, are based on Western premises incapable of grasping the emancipatory potential of international peacebuilding efforts.


This picture is the starting point of my Master's thesis Whose Peace? Which Peace? On the Political Architecture of Liberal Peacebuilding. Here, I try to place the current debate on the political dimension of peacebuilding within general strands of international political theory. This both makes the presuppositions of liberal peacebuilding more explicit, and clarifies how the criticism is often rooted in alternative philosophical assumptions rather than mere empirical observation. This approach also makes it possible to find ways of extracting constructive insights from the scholarly critique without abolishing the basic liberal idea of peacebuilding.


Kristoffer Lidén  is currently a Young Researcher in the European Research Training Network Applied Global Justice ( With a background in Philosophy, Sociology and Social Anthropology, he recently completed an MA degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Oslo. Over the last three years, he has been a research assistant and Master student at PRIO.