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The Masks of the Political God by Luca Ozzano

Global-Local Dynamics in Security Sector Reform Practice

Conflict Resolution
Local Government
Sabine Mannitz
Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Sabine Mannitz
Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

The paper presents results from a multi-sited team research conducted 2012-2016 in five countries where security sector reforms (SSR) were meant to improve public security and access to justice, and establish effective and accountable forms of security governance. Parallel to the general acknowledgement of failures in peacebuilding and external democratization policies, SSR also has become subject to growing critique, normatively and in practical terms. Shortfalls have become evident of external interventions and teleological models of development. While it is widely recognized nowadays that localization is crucial for any social and political transformation attempt to meet its ends there seem to be persisting gaps between the rhetoric of local ownership and the reality of ‘donor’/‘recipient’ relations in SSR arenas. Against this backdrop, our research was focused on the global travel of SSR programs and the ways in which the concept is transported, transformed and translated into different reform arenas (of Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria). The findings challenge the prevalent diagnosis of ‘failed’ localizations and offer alternative readings. The SSR setting of norm entrepreneurship renders simplistic categories of ‘global/liberal’ vs. ‘traditional/local’ actors and concepts inappropriate and warrants to explore the global-local linkages and mutual influences instead between actors with different stakes in the process. To study the complex assemblage of agency, interests and security cultural dynamics, we conceptualize our field as a transnational arena and had to adapt our methodology to this unbounded setting. The paper will also reflect on the limitations and the rewards which this shift entails.
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