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Publisher Description

In this article, I argue that the meaning and use of reintegration, both as a concept and a postconflict peacebuilding practice, is overloaded and unclear, thus contributing to problematic policy responses and impeding accountability. I draw on the Liberian case to show how vague, platitudinal, or contradictory understandings of reintegration can translate in the field to ad hoc and disengaged planning processes and programs that lack a clear strategy and lead to overblown expectations. I also contend that the ongoing securitization of reintegration can actually undermine both developmental and security objectives by instrumentalizing reintegration's original, socioeconomic aims, at the same time that it engenders frustration arising from inflated and unfulfilled expectations. The article concludes with recommendations for improving the thinking, practice, and evaluation of reintegration. KEYWORDS: disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs, Liberia, postconflict, securitization, development. Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs are integral to international community interventions in postconflict countries. Yet DDR's effectiveness, particularly in reintegrating former fighters--the focus of this article--owes more to assumption than to evidence. Assumptions--about how conflicts and affected societies are constituted and organized--also factor strongly into reintegration's conceptualization, which in turn tends to be so broad in scope and aims as to undermine chances of effective implementation. Relatedly and, I argue, problematically, reintegration operates in the service of two ends, security and development, not necessarily best served by the same means. Cumulatively, these elements--an oft-misguided basis for policy formulation combined with multiple policy justifications, aiming toward an unclear endstate--critically undercut reintegration's potential utility.

Politics & Current Events
July 1
Lynne Rienner Publishers
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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