Taking Lessons From Just North

by Joshua Foust on 5/5/2009 · 3 comments

I don’t have $130 to spend on it, but John Heathershaw’s new book, Post-Conflict Tajikistan: The politics of peacebuilding and the emergence of legitimate order certainly looks interesting. From the abstract:

Post-Soviet, post-conflict Tajikistan is an under-studied and poorly understood case in conflict studies literature. Since 2000, this Central Asian state has seen major political violence end, countrywide order emerge and the peace agreement between the parties of the 1990s civil war hold. Superficially, Tajikistan appears to be a case of successful international intervention for liberal peacebuilding, yet the Tajik peace is characterised by authoritarian governance.

Via discourse analysis and extensive fieldwork, including participant-observation with international organizations, the author examines how peacebuilding is understood and practised. The book challenges received wisdom that peacebuilding is a process of democratisation or institutionalisation, showing how interventions have inadvertently served to facilitate an increasingly authoritarian peace and fostered popular accommodation and avoidance strategies. Chapters investigate assistance to political parties and elections, the security sector and community development, and illustrate how transformative aims are thwarted whilst ‘success’ is simulated for an audience of international donors. At the same time the book charts the emergence of a legitimate order with properties of authority, sovereignty and livelihoods.

Sounds like there could be a lot of lessons for all those people planning Afghanistan’s post-post-war fate. But I doubt many will read. Does anyone have a copy I could borrow and read?


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– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 3 comments }

Christian May 5, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Heathershaw’s articles are solid. And I assume this integrates much of his dissertation. So I’m sure it will be good.

I can share if you can wait until September…

Joshua Foust May 6, 2009 at 8:50 am

Yes please.

Forrest Brown May 6, 2009 at 8:51 pm

If you live in DC there’s a copy at the Library of Congress: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/237880966&referer=brief_results

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