This article explores post-conflict reconstruction in Cambodia through an analysis of both the dangers of liberal peace building and the positive role that training in capacity building plays in war-torn societies. The central question addressed is how insider-outsider dynamics influence Cambodia’s post-conflict reconstruction projects; and what assumptions do international workers and Cambodian NGO staff make about ‘the good life’ that will be constructed? The article offers an overview of Cambodia’s history and cultural context to situate its analysis of liberal peace building and foreign donors, as well as the behavioural characteristics of international peace builders operating within Cambodia. It assesses the potency of elite capture of insider-outsider partnership, specific NGO management practices, and the role of gender to better illuminate the challenges for post-conflict reconstruction. The article concludes with recommendations for improving future partnerships between insiders and outsiders in Cambodian peace-building projects.
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