Civil society during war: The case of Yemen
SourcePeacebuilding, 8, 4, (2020), pp. 476-498
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies; Institute for Management Research
Although important roles in peacebuilding are attributed to civil society (CS), few studies have so far analysed how CS actors fare amid ongoing war. Our empirical analysis of CS organisations in Yemen shows that their potential for peacebuilding is severely restrained not only by the security situation but also by political capture, corruption, and problems associated with foreign support. Our findings have implications for theories on CS and peacebuilding, which need to be adapted to messy realities in which boundaries between the state and non-state, civil and uncivil, and domestic and international domains are blurred. They also offer food for thought to peacebuilding donors, whose funds have inadvertently become encapsulated into a highly problematic political dynamic. However, the study shows that not all types of organisations are equally affected by political capture. Grassroots and new activist organisations, it argues, deserve more academic and policy attention as ways out of the Yemeni quagmire are sought.
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