Empowering peace: service provision and state legitimacy in Nepal’s peace-building process

Florian Krampe
  • Conflict Security and Development, January 2016, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/14678802.2016.1136138

Empowering peace

What is it about?

There is growing demand for an understanding of peace beyond the absence of violence. As such research focuses increasingly on the issue of state legitimacy as a tool to assess and understand peace processes. In this paper the relationship between service provision and state legitimacy is studied to assess whether the provision of services like electricity to rural communities of war-torn countries through state actors contributes to the consolidation of the post-war political system. The qualitative analysis of two localities in post-war Nepal highlights that service provision in the form of electricity through micro-hydropower yields tremendously positive socio-economic effects for rural communities. However, socio-economic development in combination with interactions among villagers has strengthened local autonomy through emphasising alternative local governance structures. This highlights that the relationship between service provision and state legitimacy is more complex than previous research anticipates. The absence of a positive effect on state legitimacy raises the question of whether in its current case-specific form service provision is conducive to the broader peace-building efforts in post-war Nepal, because it stresses the divide between state and society.

Why is it important?

Even though micro-hydropower development is not a specific peace-building strategy of the Nepali government, policy-makers and experts consider micro-hydropower as a crucial tool for rural development in the country, because these systems utilise renewable resources and address social, economic and environmental concerns of rural communities.5 This combined effect makes micro-hydropower in Nepal an influential development effort that should have significant socio-economic consequences and affect state actors’ legitimacy. However, we have only a very limited understanding of how service provision actually affects communities in the peace process in Nepal. The need to understand this research gap has become ever more urgent with the series of earthquakes that hit Nepal in April 2015.


Florian Krampe (Author)
Uppsala Universitet

Florian Krampe is a political scientist, specialising in peace and conflict research, international relations, and political ecology at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University. He currently works on peacebuilding, the social and political impacts of climate change, water security and governance, as well as environmental peacebuilding. Since 2014 he is Director of the Forum for South Asia Studies, an interdisciplinary forum that supports and facilitates research on South Asia within the Humanities and Social Sciences at Uppsala University.

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