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We are writing this note in late July, during a temporary cease-fire in this summer’s Gaza War, and wondering how and when this particular subwar will end. We dare not even think about long-range peace solution in the current circumstances.

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This issue is the first of a planned special series devoted to exploring the broad political, social and economic implications of war in the contemporary world. The politics of war raises fundamental questions about the changing nature of war, new conceptions of the utility and effects of war, and prospects for justice and peace.

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Between Trauma and Healing

Tourism and Neoliberal Peace-Building in Divided Societies

John Nagle

Deeply divided societies that have undergone extreme civil violence are often framed as "collectively traumatized" or in a state of "melancholia." Such aetiologies support peace-building initiatives, which seek either to normalize society by forgetting the legacy of violence and starting anew or by engendering societal remembering to work through trauma and bring about societal healing and eventual "closure." Examining the case of Northern Ireland, this article considers how these discrepant processes regarding collective trauma have become bound with fierce ethnopolitical debates and counter-insurgency methods regarding how to promote the region to tourists. I argue that both approaches represent nostrums, which do little to support peace-building and are ultimately complementary with neoliberal designs concerning the relationship among tourism, economic prosperity and conflict-regulation. Discourses concerning "collective trauma" must therefore be viewed as political strategies to shape the nation, which are finally embodied in the tourist journey to "traumatized sites."

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"Once We Had a House"

Invisible Citizens and Consociational Democracy in Post-war Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Azra Hromadzic

One of the most important goals of peace-building programs around the world is the establishment of a social order that would lead to stability. In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), this includes a spatial reorganization of people and territory that assumes a fixed relationship between them. This spatial governmentality relies on a set of rigid assumptions about belonging, territoriality, and politics that make ethnically 'mixed' citizens spatially unmappable, bureaucratically invisible, and socially undesirable. Spanning more than 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in BiH, I focus on the transformation of Yugoslav mixed citizens into 'invisible citizens' in the context of post-war democratization. The experiences of these people provide a fruitful site from which to understand and critique the peace-building efforts in BiH and beyond.

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A Case of Insult

Emotion, Law, and Witchcraft Accusations in a Botswana Village Customary Court

Pnina Werbner and Richard Werbner

Legal anthropologists have been latecomers in the debate surrounding law and emotion, a movement responding to the notion that the law is ‘imbued with emotion’. As in the US and Europe, in Botswana cases of public insults are emotionally charged, and this is particularly so in witchcraft insult hearings. Akin to hate crimes, these insults threaten public peace, kinship amity, and decency. Members of a customary court mobilize an elaborate moral lexicon from everyday life in order not simply to ascertain the forensic facts, but to persuade offenders to regain their rational good sense, reach a self-conscious emotional balance, and recover spiritual calmness. The procedure culminates in a dialogue intended to restore public peace and to elicit an apology or show of regret from defendants and forgiveness from insulted plaintiffs.

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Colleen Murphy

This article concentrates on asymmetrical civil war, one common type of contemporary conflict. My aim is to articulate some of the normative jus post bellum guidelines that should be followed in ending this kind of asymmetrical conflict, and the ideal of just peace that should inform the development of such guidelines. I argue that questions surrounding the just ending and aftermath of asymmetrical conflict should be answered relationally, that is by reference to the kind of relationship such efforts should seek to cultivate. Morally defensible political relationships, I claim, express the general moral values of respect for agency and reciprocity. It is these values, I claim, that processes for ending conflict must express and that inform the regulative ideal of just peace at the core of jus post bellum.

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Analyzing Resistance to Transitional Justice

What Can We Learn from Hybridity?

Briony Jones

A focus on understanding and managing the reactions of affected populations has led to hybridity’s being an important part of the discussions about, and applications of, transitional justice. However, despite the presence of “resistance” as a component in theories of hybrid peace, there is limited in-depth theoretical or empirical work on resistance to transitional justice. Th e content of this article addresses this gap in two main ways. First, it asks what we can learn from theories of hybrid peace about resistance to transitional justice. Second, it proposes a particular approach to resistance that would allow for a more dynamic and ultimately more useful understanding of resistance to transitional justice. Th e argument presented here states not only that we must seek to understand the nature of resistance as a part of hybridity, but we must do so by analyzing the relational process through which acts come to be defined as resistance.

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Introduction

The Digital Age Opens Up New Terrains for Peace and Conflict Research

Josepha Ivanka Wessels

The arrival of the Digital Age added a new way to preserve memories of war and conflict. These developments beg deeper reflection on the role of cyberspace and how memories of conflict have become publicly and collectively owned, shared and mediated in the digital space. Cyberspace offers a context for the deposit of digital memorials for victims and casualties of war from any adversary in a conflict. The final workshop in a three-part exploratory series entitled Virtual Zones of Peace and Conflict is the basis for this special section, which deals with digital memory. The three articles were selected because they reflect on the role of the Digital Age in peace and conflict studies, and specifically focus on the intersection between online (virtual) and offline (physical) realities and how cyberspace forms an enabling environment for digital memorializations.

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Yael S. Aronoff

I analyze the actions of Israeli prime ministers in the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, comparing one prime minister who remained hard-line and one who evolved into a peace maker. By examining their belief systems and individual characteristics, I hypothesize the types of hawks that are more likely to change their views of an opponent and convert into peace-makers. Although a change in both the opponent and the environment is necessary for a leader to change his image of an enemy, three additional elements make change more probable: (1) a weak ideological commitment, or a commitment to an ideology that does not have its components articulated as obstacles; (2) a present or future individual time orientation; (3) either a flexible cognitive system or exposure and openness to a significant advisor who has a different view of the opponent.

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Menachem Klein

Shaul Bartal, The Palestinians from the Naqba to Feddayun, 1949–1956 (Jerusalem: Carmel, 2009).

Matti Steinberg, Facing Their Fate: Palestinian National Consciousness, 1967–2007 (Miskal: Yedioth Aharonoth, 2008).

Shaul Arieli and Michael Sfard, The Wall of Folly (Miskal: Yedioth Aharonoth, 2008).

Nava Sonnenschein, Dialogue-Challenging Identity: Jews Constructing Their Identity through Encounter with Palestinians (Haifa: Pardes, 2008).

Sarab Abu Rabia Queder and Naomi Weiner-Levy, eds., Palestinian Women in Israel: Identity Power Relations and Coping Strategies (Jerusalem: Van Leer Jerusalem Institute/Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, 2010).

Honaida Ghanim, Reinventing the Nation: Palestinian Intellectuals in Israel (Jerusalem: Magnes, 2009).

Ephraim Lavie, ed., Israel and the Arab Peace Initiative (Tel Aviv University: Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Studies, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East and Africa Studies and Daniel S. Abraham Center for International and Regional Studies, 2010).

Michael Milstein, Mukawama: The Challenge of Resistance to Israel’s National Security Concept (Tel Aviv University: Institute for National Security Studies, 2010).