Digging Deeper: A poststructural policy analysis on local peacebuilding in the Dutch addressing root causes fund

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Local peacebuilding has taken an immense rise in academic and practice discourse. Yet, it is unclear which norms and ideas are driving this turn to the local, creating a need for further critical study. This poststructural policy analysis of the Dutch Addressing Root Causes (ARC) Fund (2016-2021), applies Carol Bacchi’s ‘What’s the Problem Represented to be?’ approach to uncover the underlying presumptions of Dutch efforts for local peacebuilding. Through an Analysis of Discourse of policy and practice documents, it finds that conflict in the ARC Fund is constructed to be an issue of: 1) migration, 2) unemployed youth, and 3) a broken social contract and lack of trust. These problem representations are based on a liberal state ideal, neoliberal rationalities, security thinking, and a desire for containment of the ‘local’ other. Conflict is understood to originate out of a flaw in the social order, making the social relations and cognitive understandings of the local into a space for intervention. These conceptual logics do not take into account structural and international conflict drivers, the exercise of power in defining root causes, and echoes of colonial rule. Instead, they lead to immobilization and exclusion. Biopolitical techniques of governance produce the local citizen not as a subject of rights but rather as an object of intervention without respect for autonomy and freedom. Therefore, the shift to local peacebuilding in Dutch policy seems to reflect a shift in governing, rather than an alteration of power. Further research on the dynamics of resistance to this power is needed.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen