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Kambodscha 2


The Institutionalization of Interpretative Authority in Post-Conflict Societies.

 An Analysis of the Transitional Authority in Kosovo and Cambodia

Since the end of the Cold War, the international community has increasingly intervened in sovereign states at a frequent rate, with the intention to either end a civil conflict, or to bring about a situation of lasting peace. The type of intervention that goes the furthest in this regard are cases where an International Administration (IA), under an UN mandated mission, assumes the functions of central governance over a territory for a limited timeframe – a so called Transitional Authority. The declared aim of such assuming governance is:

(a) to (re)build legitimate political institutions post-conflict societies and regions and (b) to hand over authority to local actors and thereby contribute to creating a self-supporting situation of sustainable peace. In order to hinder a return to violent conflict, it is necessary to secure that the international administration is recognized as legitimate, and that the administration is ascribed sufficient authority to interpret and institute the foundations of the new political system. In due course this authority must then be transferred to internal institutions, in order to prevent the development of destabilizing impression of the transitional authority as simply being a form of foreign rule.

Our research project aims at gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges local and international actors are faced with, when trying to establish themselves as (political) authorities in this very process. Employing the theory of institutional interpretive authority, we put forward the idea that political authority is closely related to identity. The idea of a stable and unified state can only be achieved if people identify to a high degree with their institutions. It is therefore crucial to observe how and to which degree these institutions attempt to become the points of reference in the peoples’ discourse about their present and future as a political community. Equally important will be to observe how the international administration will manage to temporarily assume authority in order to guide this very process: Obliged to be a neutral and unbiased player the IA is bound to maneuver differently from the local actors in order to maintain its temporary status as a legitimate authority.

Thus, we do question the adequacy of the prevailing view in state building literature and practice that 'political authority' is something that can be 'transferred' or 'handed over' to local actors.

Using longitudinal analysis of the institutional transition processes in Kosovo and Cambodia, this project seeks to make a strong theoretical contribution to the role of political authority in such a time period – a contribution that will be of direct practical relevance for those involved in conflict management and settlement.



Foto TB neu 

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bonacker

Telefon: 06421 / 28 24 574


Bild André Brodocz


Prof. Dr. André Brodocz

Telefon: 0361/ 73 74 973


Katrin Travouillon, M.A.

Telefon: 06421 / 28 24 431



Werner Distler, M.A.

Tel: 06421 / 28 24 431


Zuletzt aktualisiert: 05.11.2013 · Wuebbold

Zentrum für Konfliktforschung

Zentrum für Konfliktforschung, Ketzerbach 11, D-35032 Marburg
Tel. +49 6421/28-24444, Fax +49 6421/28-24528, E-Mail: konflikt@staff.uni-marburg.de

URL dieser Seite: https://www.uni-marburg.de/konfliktforschung/forschung/drittmittelprojekte/deutungsmacht

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