Economies of Violence

Angelika Spelten
| 2003

A Challenge for Development Policy

This paper offers, within narrowly defined confines, an overview of the main characteristics and forms of economies of violence. It addresses country and project officers in governmental and nongovernmental development cooperation institutions and organizations and seeks to draw attention to potential mutual impacts between project activities and aspects of economies of violence. The dangerous impacts of economies of violence are not limited to the development context, and there can be no doubt that they cannot be reduced by development policy actions alone. In order to achieve long-term success, there needs to be coherence between foreign, economic, development and security policies. However, one way to get started can be to take up each individual policy field and describe its relationships and interfaces with the complex phenomenon of economies of violence. The following presentation seeks to do that for the field of development policy.

It starts out by explaining and defining the term "economy of violence" (EoV). It then establishes a link with the practical development policy context by presenting specific examples, the purpose being to describe in greater detail the range of potential openings for action in different policy fields. Finally, five guiding questions are intended to help achieve improved analysis of the multiple relationships between project activities and violence-based economic dynamics, and to facilitate a structured reflection on the scope for action available to one's own organization or to local partners.

Translation of the German publication: Gewaltökonomie. Möglichkeiten und Grenzen entwicklungspolitischer Handlungsoptionen.

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