BASIC CONCEPTS AND THEORIES IN INTERNATIONAL PEACEKEEPING: AN ANALYTIC REVIEW
Keywords:Peacekeeping, Peace Operations, Peace Enforcement, Peacebuilding, United Nations, Regional Organisations
This paper reviewed some extense literature in peacekeeping. The review of the literature focused on two areas - concepts and theories of peacekeeping. After having discussed the three major approaches to think conceptually about peacekeeping in the literature, we argued that despite the existence of these multiple frameworks for addressing the conceptual problems of peacekeeping, they overlooked the imperative of the structures and processes of world politics, their impacts and how these have conditioned the roles of peacekeepers in it. Then, we examined four of the main theoretical approaches that are discernible in the peacekeeping literature, which offer possible frameworks for the analysis and interpretation of peacekeeping research. We argued that there is no single theory (or a metatheory) that fully explains the whole gamut of issues involved in peace operations. This is because these theoretical traditions provide different ways in which to comprehend peacekeeping. A single theory is highly unlikely to fully explain the complexities of contemporary peace operations, especially in a continent like Africa featuring different peacekeeping actors. Therefore, peacekeeping is best understood through the application of many theories in order to uncover the motives of peacekeeping authourising institutions, peacekeepers as well as the role(s) peacekeeping missions play and the interest they serve.