Desecuritisation of water and the technocratic turn in peacebuilding

Karin Aggestam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This article addresses the research gap of water desecuritisation and advances an interdisciplinary approach within the issue area of peacebuilding. It draws upon three strands of research: security, peacebuilding and transboundary water management. The article examines three core questions: (1) how is desecuritisation conceptualised and understood in theory as well as within the context of water development; (2) in what ways are water conflict addressed within the liberal peacebuilding paradigm; and (3) what are the roles and implications of technocracy in resolving conflict and building peace? The article conducts a conceptual scoping, which critically probes what desecuritisation and peacebuilding do politically in the water sector. It draws empirical illustrations from the Israeli–Palestinian water conflict where water is securitised while major peacebuilding efforts have been made to desecuritise the conflict. It concludes that technical blueprints may run the risk of depoliticising conflict dynamics, which contradicts the normative assumption about desecuritisation as a return to normal politics. Moreover, the technocratic turn in peacebuilding practices have empowered certain actors, who act as the “new” peacemakers while others are marginalised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-340
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Conflict
  • Desecuritisation
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Peacebuilding
  • Politics
  • Technocracy
  • Water

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