UBC Theses and Dissertations
Rough peace : understanding the avoidance of armed conflict in Bolivia Prest, Stewart
Why and how does peace persist in some contentious political contexts, but not others? I argue that certain forms of locally embedded governance institutions can play an important role in mitigating the likelihood of armed violence. Specifically, I find that inclusive communities equipped with governance institutions capable of resolving collective action problems—which I refer to as “Ostromian communities”—are, under a range of conditions, less likely to engage in armed conflict with other communities or the state. The research employs a method of process tracing on the basis of 70 participant and expert interviews, primary document collection and analysis and other archival research in the primary case of contestation over coca eradication in the Chapare region of Bolivia from 1982 until 2004. First, I illustrate how the coca growers’ federations constituted an Ostromian community. Second, I show how the federations’ inclusive political institutions encouraged and enabled high levels of coordinated and contentious non-violent political activity, but stopped short of armed resistance. This outcome resulted despite a repressive state presence in the region and regular instances of violence directed against the community occurring over a period of more than two decades. The dissertation makes several contributions to the civil conflict literature. It provides a novel explanation for why and how some countries at risk of civil conflict—such as those with unconsolidated political regimes or limited state capacities—tend to persist indefinitely in a state of rough, yet durable peace, while others experience conflict.
Item Citations and Data
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada