Benedicte Bull & Mariel Aguilar-Støen: Peace-building and business elites in Guatemala and El Salvador: explaining the discursive ‘institutional turn’
In Conflict, Security and Development, 2019.
Benedicte Bull and Mariel Aguilar-Støen
The local business elites of El Salvador were generally in favour of the peace agreement and supported its negotiation and implementation in 1992, while in Guatemala the private sector reluctantly supported the peace process and, after the peace agreements were signed in 1996, the private sector sought to obstruct parts of its implementation. In the aftermath of the peace accords, business elites united around an ideology espousing a minimal state and a focus on market solutions to social problems. Although welcoming the security-related measures in the peace accords, business elites have often obstructed transformations towards more inclusive and democratic societies. However, in recent years there has been a change in discourse among influential business associations towards recognition of the need for strong state institutions and the need for institutionalised mechanisms for dialogue to find solutions to social problems. In this article, we seek to shed light on the significance of this discursive turn for continued peace-building.