Journal of International and Global Studies


Liberal Peacebuilding has failed to realize the ambitious agenda set after the end of the Cold War. This paper contributes to the critical debate about liberal peacebuilding by introducing some fundamental ideas from Thomas Hobbes’ state of nature. Within the state of nature, Hobbes’s state of fear resembles the deep-rooted mistrust that haunts most post-conflict societies. The paper describes human desires as the foundation of political power. As such, political authority must necessarily reflect social dynamics in order to be of relevance for its subjects and, ultimately, effective. In the volatile and rapidly changing environments of postconflict states, human desires must be treated as context-sensitive. Therefore, rather than rebuilding institutions and structures according to liberal ideals, peacebuilding shall consider human interest as a dependent variable. This calls for the inclusion of every subject into the governing process and requires the meeting of preconditions that foster a common social order capable of responding to all individuals’ desires.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.