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States of Unrest: Critiquing Liberal Peacebuilding and Security Sector Reform in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone (2001-2012) and Liberia (2003-2013) Open Access


Other title
Sierra Leone
Security Sector Reform
Mano River Basin, West Africa
Liberal Peacebuilding, Statebuilding, Security Sector Reform, DDR, West Africa, Sierra Leone and Liberia
United Nations
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Dyck, Christopher B.
Supervisor and department
Keating, Thomas (Political Science)
Knight, W. Andy (Political Science)
Examining committee member and department
Thompson, Guy (History)
Smith, Malinda S. (Political Science)
Adibe, Clement (Political Science, DePaul University)
Department of Political Science

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Drawing from original interviews, archival work and extended fieldwork (2011-2012), this doctoral dissertation comparatively examines the theory and practice of United Kingdom, United States and United Nations-led post-conflict peacebuilding and security sector reforms in Sierra Leone (2001-2011) and Liberia (2003-2013). Through an examination of specific post-conflict practices—disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration or “DDR” and security sector and military reform (SSR)—I demonstrate that these interventions were embedded within a macro-peacebuilding approach that was oriented for short-term problem-solving in support of an expedient rush to reconsolidate state authority followed by a statebuilding and capacity building process broadly in the mold of a “liberal peace”. The central argument presented in the dissertation is that external actors aimed to reconsolidate state authority during the immediate phase of post-war “peacebuilding” without problematising the nature of the African state in both societies and thereby undermining the long-term effectiveness of these interventions. Despite considerable western involvement over the past decade, the structural causes that led to these conflicts have been unaddressed and continue to persist in the so-called “post-conflict” period. The long-term effects of this strategy are explored in relation to the functioning of state power and its relations with civil society.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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