This report examines the pathways from post-conflict elite bargains towards (more) open and (more) inclusive politics. It identifies cross-cutting issues and draws out the implications of the analysis for external actors seeking to support more inclusive politics.
Elites are frequently the gatekeepers to post-conflict political and economic bargains. Given this strong gatekeeper role, elite interests and preferences are essential in shaping prospects for more open and inclusive settlements. Yet, elites do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they operate within a variety of contextual historical, structural, and institutional factors that are in dynamic interaction and shape and influence the positioning, orientation, interests and behaviours of elites in an iterative manner.
Consequently, one critical question that needs to be addressed is when, how, and why elite interests and preferences might change to support more open and inclusive politics. In states and societies that have been sharply divided by violent conflict, a further question may be how and why elites might be encouraged to move beyond exclusivist, simplified and binary identities and have a stake in fostering a vision and a set of shareable values for a plural, or multicultural, political system, in ways that do not simply include elites from different groups but also society more broadly.
Report written by Heaven, C., Rocha Menocal, A., von Billerbeck, S. and Zaum, D., (2022) From Elite Bargains to (More) Open and (More) Inclusive Politics. Report. University of Reading, Reading. pp78.
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