Andreas Mehler / Ulf Engel / Lena Giesbert / Jenny Kuhlmann / Christian von Soest

Structural Stability: On the Prerequisites of Nonviolent Conflict Management

GIGA Working Paper, No. 75, April 2008

Abstract
The concept of "structural stability" has been gaining prominence in development policy circles. In the EU’s and the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s (OECD DAC) understanding, it describes the ability of societies to handle intra-societal conflict without resorting to violence. This study investigates the preconditions of structural stability and tests their mutual interconnections. Seven dimensions are analyzed: (1) long-term economic growth, (2) environmental security, (3) social equality, (4) governmental effectiveness, (5) democracy, (6) rule of law, and (7) inclusion of identity groups. The postulated mutual enhancement of the seven dimensions is plausible but cannot be proven. The most significant positive relationship appears between "democracy" and "rule of law," respectively, on the one hand and the dependent variable "violence/ human security" on the other hand. This points to the usefulness of the political concept of structural stability to promote development policy agendas in this area at least. Applications that reach beyond these initial findings will, however, require further research.

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GIGA Authors

Dr. Lena Giesbert is a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs. She is the spokesperson for the Inclusive Societies Research Team, which is part of Research Programme 3: Growth and Development.

Dr. Christian von Soest is a lead research fellow at the IAA and head of Research Programme 2 “Peace and Security.” His work focuses on international sanctions, the persistence and change of authoritarian regimes, foreign policy, and limited statehood, as well as on corruption and its effects on political regimes.

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