The international architecture of peacebuilding and statebuilding, with the United Nations’ efforts central among them, is currently responding to a shift from ‘analogue’ to ‘digital’ approaches in international relations. This is affecting intervention, peacebuilding and development. This article analyses the potential that these new digital forms of international relations offer for the reform of peacebuilding–namely, the enhancement of critical agency across networks and scales, the expansion of claims for rights and the mitigation of obstacles posed by sovereignty, locality and territoriality. The article also addresses the parallel limitations of digital technologies, as well as the risk of co-optation by historical and analogue power structures, existing modi operandi and agendas of the United Nations, and other international actors. We conclude that though aspects of emerging digital approaches to peacebuilding are promising, they cannot yet bypass or resolve older, analogue conflict dynamics revolving around the state, territorialism, and state formation.
- critical agency
- digital technologies