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Title: Foreign aid and peripheral conflict : a case study of the far south of Thailand
Author: Burke, Adam
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 5348
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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Many foreign aid agencies promote peacebuilding as a global policy objective. This thesis considers how they have operated in practice in subnational, 'peripheral' conflicts, using the Far South of Thailand as a case study. It asks how the characteristics and causes of the conflict affect aid agencies' approaches and considers the properties of aid agencies that help explain why they act as they do. Semi-structured interviews with aid agency staff, supported by other empirical data, are used to examine the practical process of foreign aid provision. The thesis builds on the concept of horizontal inequality to help explain how typical patterns of violence in peripheral conflicts are associated with perceptions of political, economic, social and cultural status inequality along ethnic lines within nation states. Foreign aid agencies have a mixed record of addressing such inequalities. An assessment of aid agencies operating in Thailand, combined with detailed consideration of illustrative interventions, reveals a variety of responses to conflict in the Far South and its causes. Agencies with larger, more conventional programmes tend not to respond to the issue. Other agencies try but do not succeed in implementing their plans, while some agencies implement small yet relevant initiatives. The reasons for this pattern are identified through the research process with reference to existing literature on foreign aid, horizontal inequalities and conflict. Factors include: different motivations behind foreign aid including mixed levels of interest in addressing inequalities within conventional development approaches; the varied ability of agencies to negotiate with a reluctant recipient government; and practical barriers stemming from how agencies operate. The research highlights the challenges faced in using foreign aid to address peacebuilding. Some increased involvement might be possible if aid agencies place greater priority on addressing underlying inequalities as well as building local knowledge and relationships that enable them to respond to arising opportunities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral