Speaking to an imagined community. How the Paris Peace Agreements shaped ideas of the new political order in Cambodia 1992-93
Despite the importance that current peacebuilding literature assigns to internal legitimacy, we know next to nothing about the development and the negotiation of ideas in the context of an intervention: How exactly do interveners convey an image of the new political order? How do local political ac...
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|Despite the importance that current peacebuilding literature assigns to internal legitimacy, we know next to nothing about the development and the negotiation of ideas in the context of an intervention: How exactly do interveners convey an image of the new political order? How do local political actors imagine the political future? What is the image they convey to their constituency? And how do converging or contradicting ideas affect the relationship between interveners and local actors and the reforms at large? Designed as a contribution to the theorization of external nation building, this work develops a theoretical framework to observe the ongoing struggles between local and international actors over the meaning of political reforms. It proposes an understanding of political authority that is tied to processes of identity formation. The analysis draws on UNTAC produced audio- and video material, the internal and public communication of its Information and Education Unit, and interviews with Cambodian politicians and former members of the large scale intervention that took place in the early 90s. Based on these materials it documents the strategies of the Transitional Authority to discipline public political discourse based on their interpretation of the Paris Peace Agreements, and the attempts of Cambodian political actors to generate political authority by confirming, rejecting, or re-interpreting their claims. Ideas of the new political order, this is the central argument, are formed as a result of this creative negotiation process.