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Political Settlements Research Programme

Contact: Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin and Dr Catherine O'Rourke
Funder: UK Department for International Development (DFID)
View the project website

The Political Settlements Research Programme is a four year research programme, undertaken by a North-South Consortium of five organisations. Over the four years we will examine how political settlements come into being, how open and inclusive they are, and how internal and external actors shape them.

The term ‘political settlements’ can be understood in different ways as you can explore in the prezi below.

However, a useful working definition of a political settlement is: ‘the forging of a common understanding usually between political elites that their best interests or beliefs are served through acquiescence to a framework for administering political power’ (di John & Putzel 2009:4)

This programme is centrally concerned with how political settlements can be made both more stable, and more inclusive of those affected by them beyond political elites.  In particular, we are interested in the relationship between stability and inclusion, sometimes understood as a relationship between peace-making and justice.

This programme will address three broad research questions relating to political settlements:

1. How do different types of political settlement emerge, and what are the actors, institutions, resources, and practices that shape them?

2. How can political settlements be improved by internally-driven initiatives, including the impact of gender-inclusive processes and rule of law institutions?

3. How, and with what interventions, can external actors change political settlements?