Risks and opportunities for conflict transformation
Maéva Clément, Anna Geis, and Hanna Pfeifer
Many contemporary violent conflicts involve armed non-state actors (ANSAs) as
conflict parties. Governments are often hesitant to enter informal talks and
negotiations with ANSAs, and yet in many violent conflicts such ‘talks’ are
initiated at some point. Engaging with ANSAs is considered risky. Talking
and negotiating usually imply gradual steps of recognising and legitimising
the counterpart. In successful cases, ANSAs can be transformed into
non-violent political parties and their legitimate goals eventually become
incorporated into state policy. But recognition can also backfire by
creating counterproductive precedents and new modes of exclusion in
politics. In unsuccessful cases, armed non-state actors might escalate the
violent struggle. At the same time, mis-recognition, which individuals or
collective actors experience as humiliation, disrespect or false
representations of their identity, can be seen as a major cause of political
resistance and escalation. By conceptualising the (mis-/non-)recognition
of ANSAs, pointing to potential ambivalences and addressing its meaning for
conflict transformation, the introductory chapter provides the broader
analytical frame and contextualisation for the edited volume. It links the
concept of recognition as developed in international political theory to
research on ANSAs in peace and conflict studies. What forms of
(non-/mis-)recognition of armed non-state actors occur in violent conflicts?
Which risks and opportunities arise in processes of conflict transformation
when state actors recognise armed non-state actors or, conversely, deny them
recognition? The theoretical-conceptual considerations presented here draw
on examples from the case studies as discussed in the individual
contributions to the volume.
Lebanese Hezbollah is arguably the most powerful armed non-state actor
currently active. Founded as an Islamic resistance movement against Israeli
occupation in the 1970s and 1980s, Hezbollah is considered a terrorist
organisation by several Western states and, since 2016, by the Arab League
and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Since 2015, it is known to have been
involved in several armed conflicts in the Middle East, most importantly as
a supporter of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, but also as a
provider of military training for resistance groups in Iraq and
Yemen. At the same time, however, Hezbollah representatives have been
part of all Lebanese governments since 2011 and they occupy a number of
seats in Parliament. Finally, Hezbollah is also a very active provider of
social and welfare services in the Lebanese South and the Beqaa. For
all of the roles it takes, Hezbollah has often been described as a hybrid
organisation, which escapes established typologies of both Islamism and
terrorism. The chapter, based on the author’s field research in Lebanon,
seeks to explore and map the variety of recognition practices that revolve
around Hezbollah. It analyses what kind of recognition Hezbollah seeks from
different audiences, among them the Lebanese and transnational Shiite
community, the Lebanese people, competing political parties in Lebanon, and
Western and Middle Eastern states, as well as international organisations.
It traces how recognition-granters react to Hezbollah’s claims and what
consequences these parallel processes of recognition, non-recognition and
mis-recognition have on inner-Lebanese and regional conflict dynamics.
The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the ways in which the Islamic State
generates and upholds its message through what are termed recognition
orders, that is, complex sets of recognition by various actors for various
traits and reasons, as well as complex sets of claims for recognition
towards various actors as to what is to be recognised about the Islamic
State in which way. This means that any act of recognition, non- or
mis-recognition is part of a social relationship between those granting (or
denying) and those the act is directed towards. Consequently, recognition
and its others (non- and mis-recognition) are constituted
reciprocally. Considerations are based on an examination of twenty-three
authoritative statements as well as a few texts and videos wherein the
Islamic State’s ideologues emphasised particular sets of traits the group
aspired to being recognised for as well as sets of actors from which the
group sought recognition. These sets of traits and their variation
correspond to the series of organisational stages the Islamic State
underwent before and after its proclamation as the Caliphate in 2014. The
chapter proposes two different sets of analytical questions, the answers to
which reveal the complex recognition regime of which the Islamic State is
part. The history of the Islamic State and its predecessor organisations is
shown to be highly volatile in terms of the content and scope of the
recognition it demands.
The Introduction discusses the study of women’s workplace protest for earlier periods. It outlines the book’s conceptual framework and indicates the book’s position relative to existing literature on women and work, women and the labour movement and second-wave feminism. It also provides a brief discussion of the broader historical context in which these disputes took place. Finally, it discusses the sources and methods used in the book and explains why each case study was chosen, who was interviewed and why.
Chapter 2 focuses on how the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society (IAOS) disseminated co-operative societies and ideas through the rural countryside. At a national level the IAOS built up a broad social coalition that included nationalists and unionists, Catholics and Protestants, landlords and farmers, in its efforts to popularise agricultural co-operation. This alliance proved fragile and the interventions of Horace Plunkett, the co-operative movement’s leader, sometimes threatened to undo this hard work. The IAOS also promoted its mission at a local level through its staff of professional organisers. The second half of the chapter considers the crucial role played by these co-operative organisers in the successful establishment and continued development of co-operative societies throughout the countryside.
Civilising Rural Ireland examines how modern Ireland emerged out of the social and economic transformation prompted by the rural co-operative movement. The movement emerged in response to systemic economic problems that arose throughout the nineteenth century and coincided with a wide-ranging project of cultural nationalism. Within a short space of time the co-operative movement established a swathe of creameries, agricultural societies and credit societies, leading to a radical reorganisation of rural Ireland and helping to create a distinctive Irish political economy. The work of overlooked co-operative experts is critically examined for the first time and reinserted into the process of state development. The interventions of these organisers, intellectuals and farmers built up key institutions that shaped everyday life across rural communities. The movement weathered war and revolution, to become an indispensable part of an Irish state infrastructure after independence in 1922. The strained relationship and economic rivalry that developed between Irish and British co-operators is also explored in order to illuminate the changing relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom from an economic perspective. Civilising Rural Ireland will appeal to a wide audience interested in modern Irish history and readers are introduced to an eclectic range of personalities who shared an interest in co-operation and whose actions possessed important consequences for the way Ireland developed. The creative use of local and national sources, many of which are examined for the first time, mean the book offers a new perspective on an important period in the making of modern Ireland.
Chapter 4 analyses how the co-operative movement adjusted to a new political and economic environment during the First World War. The movement’s ability to adapt to new circumstances highlighted its importance to the rural population. Increasingly, wartime food controls frustrated the co-operative movement’s attempt to reorganise rural society. The war provided an important watershed, which led to the Irish co-operative movement’s emphatic politicisation and a subsequent loss of confidence in the British state system. The movement emerged from the war critical of government economic intervention in Ireland and asserted its blueprint for social reorganisation with added urgency.
Chapter 6 examines the role of the co-operative movement in the socio-economic construction of the independent Irish Free State. Despite the constraints of an unsettled political atmosphere, achievements made by co-operators before independence were further secured in the postcolonial period as the movement worked with a new Irish political administrators. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the co-operative movement continued to embed its network of societies across rural Ireland. Independent Irish governments utilised this network to promote agricultural development and set in place a series of economic policies that favoured the agricultural sector, and which remained in place until later in the twentieth century. Co-operative societies were relied upon to facilitate and deliver the state’s vision of a functioning Irish economy predicated on agriculture. Having established itself as a permanent fixture in the rural sphere, the IAOS and its network of co-operative societies exerted a highly influential presence in the independent Irish state that helped set the parameters of economic development going forward.
Chapter 5 examines how the movement interacted with, and influenced, the nationalist Sinn Féin Party, which advocated complete political separation from Britain, and the labour movement. In particular, Sinn Féin utilised co-operative ideas to develop a distinctive economic plan for a theoretical Irish Republic. The breakdown of law and order and increased state violence during the Irish War of Independence threatened the existence of the co-operative movement. During 1920–21 reprisal attacks carried out by Crown forces targeted co-operative societies. By using the correspondence of local societies and contemporary news reportage this chapter considers the ways state violence undermined co-operative behaviour among the rural population and how this meant certain aspects of economic development experienced permanent setback of the eve of political independence.
The conclusion summarises the overall arguments presented in previous chapters about the importance of the co-operative movement to rural development in Ireland. The long-term perspective employed throughout the book highlights the way in which the Irish co-operative movement responded to, and shaped, key political events as Ireland moved towards independence. In the years after Irish independence, the IAOS and co-operative societies played a crucial part in delivering economic policies. Finally, a note is made about the state of co-operation in Ireland in recent years.