Since the mid-twentieth century, the distinctions between “wartime” and “peacetime” have been increasingly blurred. Beyond the battlefield, the outbreak of violence impacts institutions both seen and unseen, with implications that often outlast active conflict. War-to-peace transitions have been widely studied through a range of analytical frames. Yet, rarely are such transitions linear from a state of violence to a state of peace. To address such conceptual grey areas, scholars have approached these intersections through lenses such as “positive” and “negative” peace, or “violent peace,” which capture nuance in classification but do not always address subtleties within and across various contexts.
The “survival of the war economy” series aims to provoke questions surrounding political economies of violence in such settings. The implications of using “peacetime” institutions as weapons in conflict, and the transformation of “wartime” institutions and practices into peacetime pose key challenges for academics and policymakers alike in grappling with the implications of violence and its aftermath.
The two pieces approach this theme from contrasting perspectives. While “Sinews of War” disentangles the lifeline that wartime funding mechanisms provided to the French resistance during World War II. “The Entangled State” points to the muddling of boundaries between (non)state institutions and actors, examining Northern Ireland and Liberia as case studies. Both pieces, nevertheless, highlight the importance of nuanced approaches to conflict and peacebuilding and the ways in which “illicit,” “extra-legal,” or “non-state” spaces may provide opportunities for resilience and adaptation.
From these articles, key debates surrounding agency and collaboration emerge, wherein civilian actors and institutions are bound by contexts that are neither straightforward nor simple. These two pieces offer a glimpse into these spaces and the insight they offer for academics and practitioners alike.
Ryan Saadeh is a candidate for the MA in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies at King’s College London as a Marshall Scholar. He recently finished his MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from SOAS University of London and holds a BA in Middle East Studies and Political Science from Brown University. Ryan’s research focuses on conflict and development dynamics in divided societies, political violence, and post-conflict recovery.