Title: Toward a Realistic and Responsible Idea of Stabilisation.
Author: Rotmann, P
Institution: Stability: International Journal of Security and Development. 5(1), p.5. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/sta.414
Publication Date: 2016
Keywords: stabilisation, resilience
The author studies stabilisation concepts and mechanisms in the UK, US, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands. From this he concludes that there are broadly two contemporary official understandings of the term: the first sees stabilisation in its broadest interpretation in which stabilisation efforts are intended to build lasting peace, security, stability and prosperity; the second, more narrowly defined concept focusses on activities aimed at ‘defusing crises’. The former understanding requires a similarly broad response which attempts to address instability through genuine political, security and governance reforms; the latter implicitly accepts an end-state in which there is resilience to shock or crisis, but where states are still deeply fragile, characterized by unrepresentative politics, abusive security actors and lack of economic or social opportunity. This bifurcation is not dissimilar to the concepts of positive and negative peace developed by peace researchers such as Johan Galtung and Adam Curle in the 1960s and 1970s. However, it is valuable in that the author’s research is contemporary, and uses as its dataset the official positions and mechanisms adopted by European and North American governments. It is relevant to those working on contemporary stabilisation challenges and specifically those seeking to understand and communicate the relationships between addressing short-term political priorities which often reflect public opinion and the longer-term and more fundamental changes required for genuine peace and transition from cycles of violent conflict.