ABSTRACT

A new era of interventionist policy-making opened up once the internal political processes of states, now considered to be problematic, were considered a matter of international concern. For much of the 1990s it seemed as if international relations had lost the pluralism that demarcated the discipline from political theory since its birth in the post-colonial era of an enlarged international society of states based on international regimes of formal sovereign equality. The understanding of political blockages has shifted from the more easily accessible formal level of local state institutions to concern with the less accessible level of societal relations. The sense of a 'disconnect' between formal political authority and social processes and practices is central to non-linear approaches to peacebuilding. The blockages of politics thus shift from the resistance of elites, seen to be easily amenable to international resolution, to the blockages of the 'local' or social sphere which, by their very virtue of being 'hidden'.