This research seeks to study the peacebuilding strategies used in South Sudan. It is interested in the interaction between the liberal peacebuilding framework and the “local turn” as manifested in the strategy adopted by peacebuilding organisations in Africa. The local turn and local ownership only enjoy rhetorical acceptance and prove to be challenging to operationalise. This research critically analyses the ideological policies and implementation impact of strategies used, especially relating to the inclusion as well as the exclusion of “the local”.
As local ownership in peace processes is essential in ensuring sustainability, the research is interested in the position that the “local” voices and “local” peace actors occupy in post-independence peace strategies and policies employed mainly through the liberal framework in South Sudan. It is in the light of the top-down liberal peacebuilding framework that this research provides an analysis of the bottom-up strategies that can be identified in the case of South Sudan. The research will thus identify types of discourses, beliefs, practices and ideologies that have been adopted in South Sudan’s peacebuilding interventions by both the local and external actors and their implications. Using the different strategies employed by the external and internal peace actors as a unit of analysis, the research will aim to find out how the peace strategies employed in South Sudan include “the local” approach, how local and external actors interact and the implications of this relationship for peace in South Sudan.
This research employs a critical theory approach to analyse the inclusion of “the local” in peacebuilding and the existing relationship between the liberal peacebuilding framework and the local turn. This will be done using a qualitative approach and a phenomenological design. Since the current strategies do not exist in a vacuum, historical process tracing will be conducted to understand and evaluate the effect and the change of strategies employed by external and internal actors in the past and possible current implications.