Discourse Transformation in Peace Processes: Revisiting Sudan’s 2005 Comprehensive Agreement

by Patrick Karanja Mbugua

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: Conflict Transformation; Peace Processes; Discourse Transformation; Peace Agreements; Narratives; Protracted Conflicts; Sudan
Record ID: 1315199
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5498


An interesting theme in peace studies is how peace processes involving societies transiting from protracted civil wars engender conflict transformation. This thesis contributes to exploration of the theme by investigating discourse transformation in peace processes and how discourse change contributes to conflict transformation after the implementation of peace agreements. To explore discourse transformation, the discursive approach is employed which is one of the theoretical approaches to the study of violent conflict. Using this approach, this thesis develops an analytical framework based on two theoretical constructs, narratives of identity and narratives of exclusion, and then operationalises these analytical constructs using the discourse-historical analysis (DHA) method. The study uses the analytical framework to explore the 2002 to 2005 peace process for Sudan which aimed at resolving the protracted North-South civil war. The Sudan peace process was facilitated by the Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD). The analysis shows that five narratives of identity competed in the discursive and institutional continuities during the second civil war from 1983 to 2002. These narratives stood on almost equal footing in 1993. However, devastating violence from 1994 to 2002 altered the hierarchy of narratives. As a result, only three narratives of identity were articulated in the 2002 to 2005 peace process. The analysis also demonstrates how the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which was the outcome of the peace process, validated particular narratives of identity into narratives of exclusion. Further, the study shows the materialisation of narratives of exclusion in the form of institutions and policy options during the CPA implementation phase from 2005 to 2011. These findings raise profound questions regarding the writing and interpretation of peace agreements, and the role of peace accords as instruments of conflict transformation. In addition to developing a useful framework for tracing narrative transformation in peace processes, the outcomes of this thesis have advanced our understanding of discourse transformation in peace processes.