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Department of Political Science

Democracy in Post-Conflict Societies

Panel 4

Thursday 14 September

Belén Gonzalez

U. of Zurich, Switzerland

Dealing with the legacy of war seems an almost impossible task for countries riddled with conflict and violence. To succeed, post-conflict countries need to (re-)build their political, economic, and social fabric. At the same time, however, most post-conflict societies lack the material and political resources that guarantee a functioning state. A key question is therefore how post-conflict countries can design inclusive state institutions and establish a democratic polity that is able to ensure accountability, alleviate wartime grievances, and enforce peaceful collaboration between former adversaries. This panel is aimed at students who seek a deeper theoretical and empirical understanding of both the political challenges in post-war societies as well as their potential solutions. A key focus of the panel will be the role of domestic institutions, the international community, and civil society in rebuilding conflict-ridden societies.

The panel will draw on lessons from successful and unsuccessful cases of post-conflict stabilization and democratization in order to study the effectiveness of different policy tools geared towards consolidating democracy in such challenging environments.