University of Oxford
In this brilliant book, Lise Morjé Howard performs critical conceptual housekeeping and crisp theorizing for how we study peace operations – an area where theories tend to be imported from conflict research. She picks intellectual fights with different approaches and challenges their assessments of peacekeeping according to causal mechanisms based on military security guarantees and explanations on local ownership. She shows that the question of whether peacekeeping works has been clearly and systematically answered and scrutinizes a crucial question: how does peacekeeping work? Howard offers power – defined as persuasion, inducement and coercion – as a key central element through which peace operations fulfil their mandates. Further, she excels in developing a keener understanding of material and ideational forms of power: Persuasion is 'a social process of interaction wherein one entity changes behavior in another, in the absence of overt material or coercion'. Inducement 'entails material and institutional incentives to change a person's behavior' and coercion is 'the act of using, or threatening to use, force in order to gain compliance'. Each form of power, according to the author, has different mechanisms: Power as persuasion, among many practices, is performed via mediation, shaming, public information and symbolic displays; inducement is exercised through incentives of development and humanitarian aid, but also sanctions and market restrictions; and coercive power can be mapped into compellence, deterrence, defense, surveillance and arrest. She provides in-depth qualitative empirical material on UN operations deployed in Namibia, Lebanon, and the Central African Republic. This book is also a strikingly effective (and all-too-rare) example of using ethnographic methods to establish cause-effect relationships. While not providing the final word on peace operations, Howard has helped us make better sense of their core mechanisms.