[TimorLesteStudies] New Book: Militias and the Challenges of Post-Conflict Peace: Silencing the Guns

Bu Wilson bu.wilson at anu.edu.au
Fri Mar 18 11:27:09 EST 2011

Militias and the Challenges of Post-Conflict Peace
 Silencing the Guns
Chris Alden, Monika Thakur and Matthew Arnold 
More detail at Zed Books site:


About the Book
Militias have proven to be a consistent and enduring challenge to  achieving peace in war zones around the world. Whether armed by  embattled governments in defence of their territory or fostered by  external actors in the interests of greed or grievance, these groups  occupy an uncertain and deeply controversial position in the changing  landscape of conflict. Linked variously to atrocities against civilians  or international criminal elements, part of what distinguishes them from  more traditional combatants is their willingness to engage in violent  tactics that defy international norms as well as a proclivity to embrace  expediency in alliance-making. As such, their diversity of form,  unorthodox nature and sheer numbers make achieving short-term stability  and an enduring peace a consistently difficult proposition.
Bringing together the lessons learned from four  intensively-researched case studies - the Democratic Republic of Congo,  Timor-Leste, Afghanistan and Sudan - the book argues that the overly  rigid 'cookie-cutter' approach to demilitaristation, developed and  commonly implemented presently by the international community, is  ineffective at meeting the myriad of challenges involving militias. In  doing so, the authors propose a radical new framework for  demilitarization that questions conventional models and takes into  account on-the-ground realities.
 Praise for the Book
 'The question of how to deal with armed groups in post-war  settings presents a conundrum for academics and practitioners alike.  When heavily armed men operate at the interface of states and society as  many militia do, the challenge is especially tricky. This impressive  volume combines cutting-edge theoretical insights with original  qualitative findings from Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo,  Sudan and Timor-Leste. Taken together, Alden, Thakur and Arnold offer  readers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of militia groups and  signal a number of innovative ways to promote local security.' --  Robert Muggah, Vistiing Professor, Graduate Institute of International  and Development Studies and Research Director of the Small Arms Survey,  Switzerland
 'Based on extensive fieldwork, Alden, Thakur and Arnold's  analysis of the social basis of militia groups makes a genuine  contribution to the growing body of literature questioning conventional  DDR models.' - Professor Alice Hills, Chair of Conflict and Security, School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds
 'Alden, Thakur and Arnold have done a service to the fields of  security studies and peace studies. This book sheds new light on how to  cope with the challenge posed by militias in conflict environments,  drawing on local research in southern Sudan and the east of the  Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Afghanistan and Timor-Leste.' - Sumantra Bose, Professor of International and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science 
 'This volume presents a theoretically rigorous and empirically  rich analysis of the contemporary phenomena of militias. It is unique in  the coherence and rigour with which it approaches this under-theorised  and under-researched issue. The interpretive framework developed by the  authors will resonate far beyond the individual studies presented here.  It is both scholarly and of immediate policy relevance and will be of  interest to those involved in issues of post-conflict reconstruction,  disarmament, demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) and security sector  reform'  - Dr Tim Edmunds, University of Bristol Contents
 List of abbreviations
 List of tables
 1. Introducing Militias and Demilitarisation                    
 2. Conceptualising Militias: A Framework of Analysis         
 3. The South Sudan Defence Force                        
 4. The White Army Militias of South Sudan            
 5. The Mutineers of Timor-Leste    
 6. Militias in the eastern DRC                        
 7. Afghanistan's Long and Ongoing Experience with Militias         
 Conclusion: Militias and the Search for Local Security                
 About the Authors
 Dr Chris Alden is a Reader at the Department of International Relations,  London School of Economics.  He has published extensively on  demilitarization in journals such as Security Dialogue, Journal of Modern African Studies, and Conflict, Security and Development.  In addition, he has served as a consultant on these issues in Angola, Mozambique and South Africa.
 Dr Monika Thakur is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department  of Political Science, McMaster University, Canada.  Prior to that  appointment she taught at the American University in Cairo.  She has  published on demilitarization in journals such as African Security Review, and Conflict, Security and Development.     
 Dr Matthew Arnold graduated from the Department of International  Relations, London School of Economics.  He is currently working as a  freelance journalist.  He has published on demilitarization in journals  such as Conflict, Security and Development, Asian Survey, and International Peacekeeping.  

Dr Bu V.E. Wilson
T: Australia +61  0  407 087 086
T: Timor-Leste + 670 744 0011
E: buvewilson at gmail.com

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