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SAMF-Fagkomiteen for samfunnsvitenskap

EUI - The politics of identity in post-conflict small arms strategies: a study of weapons collections in Cambodia and Kosovo

Awarded: NOK 1.6 mill.

The research project investigates the spread of ideas and norms embedded in micro-disarmament processes in post-conflict peacebuilding environments. Micro-disarmament, as I define it in this dissertation, refers to activities aimed at controlling the use and proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in post-conflict situations. But micro-disarmament is not only about collecting weapons from conflict protagonists; it is also about local people accepting the state's monopoly on violence. This is a fundamental norm in the international system, and in order to understand how it underpins micro-disarmament initiatives it is necessary to analyse the ideational process whereby this norm is exported through contemporary peacebuilding contexts. This r esearch looks at the way local actors have mobilized for or against micro-disarmament norms as exported through both coercive (rational) and persuasive (sociologically induced) mechanisms. Through two case studies of the, on the one hand, failed micro-dis armament programme in Kosovo and, on the other, the reportedly successful one in Cambodia, the project considers ways in which local agency engages in norm localization as a response to norm-teaching by international organizations. The main focus is how t he construct of identity has played a role in facilitating or rejecting disarmament. Norm congruence, or localization, I argue, is key to the successful diffusion of international norms in local contexts, and understanding how identity and culture become politicized in this process is crucial to providing a better comprehension of the dynamics, challenges and long-term effects of externally promoted norms.

Funding scheme:

SAMF-Fagkomiteen for samfunnsvitenskap