Date of Award

June 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


Gavan Duffy

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


During the 1990s and early 2000s, a number of domestic social actors mobilized for peace in several African countries. They did so under unfavorable political conditions. Some of them went further and pursued their objective for peace at the level of formal negotiations. This particularizing inquiry sought to understand the process leading to their engagement with formal negotiations. To achieve this, inquiry focused on two questions: what about the conditions and contexts prevailing in the 1990s to early 2000s accounted for social actor's engagement with formal negotiation processes and how civic groups went about doing so. The main argument was that certain opportunities within the unfavorable political conditions and social actors' understanding of war accounted for the pursuit of peace objectives at the level of formal negotiations. A combination of specific and configurational history strategies were employed to reconstruct the process of engagement and the conditions under which it unfolded. This reconstruction relied on intrinsic and extrinsic analyses of ten peace campaigns led by religious leaders and women organizations that occurred between 1990 and 2005 in Angola, Burundi, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Somalia. Data on these campaigns was collected through archival research and face to face interviews. The resulting account suggests that the failure of social actor's humanitarian activities to mitigate the social and economic suffering caused by the war and the failure of formal negotiations to secure a lasting peace led to social actors' pursuit for an end to war. However, to engage with political actors with political, military and economic leverage, social actors had to deploy their social resources creatively to pursue their demands for peace.


Open Access