Prevention of Violent Extremism’s (PVE) ‘mission creep’ into the Peacebuilding Dispositif: A Case Study of PBF Funded Peacebuilding Projects in Kyrgyzstan
AuthorDarvell, Heidi Alexandra
This thesis explores the shift of focus in peacebuilding projects that has been funded by UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) in Kyrgyzstan. After the ethnic violence in 2010, UN was invited to perform peacebuilding in the country. This was funded through the PBF, a branch of the so- called UN Peacebuilding Architecture. However, in 2017 the peacebuilding projects shifted focus and started doing Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE). The problem in Kyrgyzstan was now represented as violent extremism. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin (2016:290) has described the inclusion of anti-terrorism into peacebuilding and security debates as a “classic ‘mission creep’”. I found a development of this ‘mission creep’ in the peacebuilding projects in Kyrgyzstan. By applying the What is the Problem Represented to Be? method, the representation of what was presented as ‘unpeaceful’, ‘the road to peace’ and ‘peace’ was analyzed in two Peacebuilding Priority Plans (PPP). Then the genealogy of these representations was traced through 34 project description documents, spanning over eight years. Moreover, I argued that the peacebuilding could be viewed as a dispositif (apparatus) that was responding to an “urgent need” in Kyrgyzstan. I found that the ‘urgent need’ shifts from ethnic violence to violent extremism, yet much of the rationale stay the same. The ‘unpeaceful’ described, is fundamentally Kyrgyzstan’s failure to be a liberal democratic state with liberal institutions, citizens, and values. There is also a strong theme of describing a lack of ‘civic-ness’ as the problem in Kyrgyzstan. This ‘civic- ness’ has a soviet tradition in Kyrgyzstan but shows signs in my data of being reinterpreted into a liberal framework. However, the inclusion of PVE into the peacebuilding dispositif has gradually led to an inclusion of security concerns that is in a tension with human rights. Moreover, the inclusion of PVE introduced a high level of ambiguity and uncertainty that affects the legitimacy of the activities. I conclude that the ‘mission creep’ of PVE into the peacebuilding dispositif is problematic. This is especially true in a sensitive context like in Kyrgyzstan, where the marginalized minority is now being pointed out by the state as making up the larger part of Foreign Terrorist Fighters.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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