A promise not fulfilled: The (non) implementation of the resilience turn in EU peacebuilding

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The article provides a critical overview of the rise of resilience at the European Union (EU) level and to what extent its adoption is reshaping the terms of the EU’s peacebuilding interventions. In reaction to the perceived shortcomings of the “liberal peace” approach, international actors, including the EU, are now describing their interventions through a new resilience discourse. The article argues that resilience offers a four-fold contribution to promoting sustainable peace: (1) a focus on complexity; (2) a systems approach; (3) a shift toward local capacities; and (4) an emphasis on human agency. Focusing on the EU’s discourse and its peacebuilding practices in the Western Balkans, the evidence suggests that the EU has only embraced a systems/integrated approach, while neglecting deeper understandings of complexity, local capacities and human agency. As a result, the contribution of resilience to EU peacebuilding remains limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-310
Number of pages24
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Issue number2
Early online date19 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Dec 2019


  • European Union
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • resilience
  • integrated approach
  • Peacebuilding


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