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Abboud, Samer. “Imagining Localism in Post-Conflict Syria: Prefigurative Reconstruction Plans and the Clash Between Liberal Epistemology and Illiberal Conflict.” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (2020): 1-19.


The liberal epistemology of prefigurative post-conflict reconstruction plans for Syria sits in tension with the messiness and materiality of Syria’s illiberal conflict ontology. I argue that this tension has three principal consequences for Syrian reconstruction and post-conflict interventions more broadly. First, the clash reinforces authoritarian state power through interveners continued cooperation with the Syrian regime. Second, knowledge production continues to peripheralize messy conflict ontologies for legible ones, effecting the norms and practices of intervention. Finally, the marginalization of liberal interveners and practices provides space for the emergence of authoritarian models of peace-making and conflict.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.