04 Feb

“A Savage Order” with Rachel Kleinfeld

Organized by:Secretariat of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law


What do you do when the foxes are guarding the henhouse? In the field of Security & Rule of Law much is known, assumed and discussed about interventions and programs that have been shown to improve justice or reduce violence and increase security. But, what can be done when violence has become part-and-parcel of a state’s political system? And how does a democratic state become increasingly complicit in violence? What can be done to bring societies back from the brink of entrenched violence?  These are some of the questions that Rachel Kleinfeld, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, set out to explore when writing her book “Savage Order: How the world’s deadliest countries can forge a path to security”. 

In this book, Dr Kleinfeld reminds us that, while the language of “failed” or “fragile” states can provoke despair, there are important examples of societies that have emerged from entrenched violence, becoming stable democracies once again – and sometimes at a surprisingly rapid pace. What lessons can be learned from looking at settings where politically-enabled violence (referred to as “privilege violence” in the book) was eventually de-escalated and societies were able to build back social trust?   
The Knowledge Platform is honored to have a discussion with Dr Kleinfeld about her work, and to dig into what her findings might mean for how SRoL policy and practice can be improved, better attuned to realities on the ground. We look forward to discussing how ‘privilege violence’ comes about, how it can be recognized, and how it can be unraveled. The event also provides our community with an opportunity to critically discuss the assumptions underlying inclusive governance policies, civil society strengthening programs, and recent focus on ‘local resilience’ as pathways to stability. 


Dr Rachel Kleinfeld, is a Senior Fellow in the Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program at The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CIEP). At CEIP she focuses on issues of rule of law, security, and governance in post-conflict, fragile states, and states in transition. She was the founding CEO of the Truman National Security Project, where she spent close to a decade leading a movement of national security, political, and military leaders working to promote people and policies that strengthen security, stability, rights and human dignity in the world.  


  • Gain a deeper understanding of how violence may be condoned and enabled by political actors and entrenched in democratic societies 

  • Reflect on what can be learned from countries that have emerged from these  patterns of entrenched, state-complicit violence 

  • Discuss how current trends in SRoL thinking could be critiqued in light of these findings, and what such critique could offer for improving SRoL policy and programming. 


Registration for this event is now closed. Please e-mail info@kpsrl.org if you have any questions. You can view the recording of the webinar below.

Virtually Accessible
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