Exploratory Workshop, Paris 2009

Post Conflict Politics

Building On Political Legitimacy


Organised by Modus Operandi with the support of the European Science Foundation, this workshop was held on the 10th and 11th  December 2009
at the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Mankind in Paris.

The meeting was divided into three sessions, each session organised around the presentation of one paper followed by a disscussion on the theme of the particular session. This workshop was offered in order to initiate a European process of collaborative and interdisciplinary research.

Success in the process of post-conflict state-building and reconstruction remains rare despite increased interest and investment in this field. It would be  no exaggeration to state that state-building is now considered to be essential in the maintenance of global stability and security.
An official from the Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Unit of the World Bank admits that the core problem within this issue is the lack of legitimacy of people and institutions: “How to create legitimacy? We don’t know”

Observation of events in the field backs up this statement; the process of reorganising states often meets local opposition due to a lack of recognition and trust. There is a common factor that can explain such distrust: post-conflict states are reorganised on the basis of Western blueprints that disrupt local dynamics. An alternative is to build on local political legitimacy. This opens up space to new forms of governance based on hybrid models and on pluralism of social norms and forms of legitimacy other than those based on democracy.

Beyond theory, we will try to understand through experience in which circumstances and contexts these models can be implemented realistically at state level.

Paris '09 Programme

Concept Paper

Workshop terms of reference

Participant List

The state of the State in Mexico


The state of the State in Colombia