Transitions of Cambodia: war and peace, 1954 to the present , Duisburg, DE Institute for Development and Peace 85pp.
(Social and Political Fractures After Wars: Youth Violence in Cambodia and Guatemala. Project Working Paper, 2).
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The present study is part of the research project on “Social and Political Fractures after Wars: Youth Violence in Cambodia and Guatemala”. The project is financed by the German Foundation for Peace Research and is located at the Institute for Development and Peace at the University of Duisburg-Essen. The project aims at explaining different levels of youth violence in two post-war societies whose processes of war termination are regarded as successful. However, both societies face serious problems of post-war development that are closely related to the experiences of war and war termination. While Cambodia’s democratisation process is considered more or less as a failure, Guatemala suffers from levels of violence higher than during most of the war. The differences between both countries in levels of violence and mechanisms of violence control are also visible in the incidence of youth violence.
The project aims to explain these differences through the contextualisation of youth violence. Thus the main focus is directed at the societal and political fractures war and war termination cause for youth and their life-worlds. The working hypotheses were related to differences according to a) the levels of social differentiation; b) the relationship between political and economic power; c) normative frameworks; and d) the sequencing of post-war developments (namely between liberalisation and stabilisation). This approach has methodological consequences insofar as different levels of youth violence are what we seek to explain. The perspective of the actors themselves is beyond our approach. After having identified the relevant fractures this would be the task of further research. The present study elaborates the historical frame for the analysis of post-war youth violence by looking at longitudinal developments as well as fractures caused by war, violence, and the intersections of domestic and external developments in the triple transformation processes under the liberal peace paradigm that was transplanted to Cambodia during the UN peacekeeping mission.
Starting with Cambodia at the time of independence from France in 1953/54, the study analyses Cambodia’s social, economic, and political development, its fractures and long-term processes during the successive stages of the war and post-war periods. The study looks at patterns in Cambodia’s development and aims to explain Cambodia’s difficult post-war situation not merely as a backslide into war, but rather as a development that partly continues, partly fractures traditional facets of Cambodia’s social and political development.
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