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Democratic and Perpetual Peace

Kant and Contemporary Peace Politics

Karel Mom

This article criticizes an empirical reading of On Perpetual Peace. It is also equally critical of the approach taken by philosophically minded scholars to give preference to Kant's philosophical outlook. Instead, it focuses on the peculiar oscillation between the philosophical and political aspects of the essay. Contrary to current concerns to update the conceptual framework of On Perpetual Peace—to rescue it from becoming obsolete—its salient irony, which mediates between both aspects, is singled out as a clue to an interpretation which seeks to account for both of them. Thus, the essay can still be a source of inspiration for peace research.

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Lesley Gill

Low-intensity conflicts, counter-insurgencies, and the so-called war on terror blur the boundaries between war and peace and, in doing so, collapse the distinctions between combatants and non-combatants. Scholars have used concepts such as `routinization of terror', `culture of fear', and `banalization of violence' to describe how fear regulates social life in places of extreme instability. These concepts often paint an overgeneralized portrait of violence that fails to examine the social relationships and institutional forms that give rise to terror and insecurity. This article examines the shifting qualities of war and peace in Colombia and argues that daily life in Barrancabermeja—a working-class city nominally `at peace' after a government-backed, paramilitary demobilization process—is a volatile arena of uncertainty in which some people are more vulnerable than others.

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Jeppe von Platz

According to both common wisdom and long-standing tradition, the ideal of peace is central to the morality of war. I argue that this notion is mistaken, not because peace is unachievable and utopian, though it might be for many of today's asymmetrical conflicts; nor because the pursuit of peace is counterproductive, though, again, it might be for many of today's conflicts; the problem, rather, is that the pursuit of peace is not a proper objective of war.

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David Lethbridge

Sartre's interventions at the Vienna, Berlin, and Helsinki Congresses of the World Peace Council are examined in depth. Neglected and overlooked for over a half-century, it is argued that the themes Sartre elaborated in these speeches were consonant with the political and intellectual projects he had been developing since the mid-1930s. Although Sartre spoke as a Marxist who had allied himself with the Communist Party, his deepest concern was to build international unity in opposition to the escalating threat of nuclear war, and to restore political and economic sovereignty to a Western Europe crushed by dependency on America. Freedom for all the world's peoples, Sartre argued, depended on mutual interdependence between nations, built from the ground up by the popular masses.

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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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Anthropology Misapplied?

The Culture Concept and the Peace Process in Ireland

Andrew Finlay

This article is animated by a concern that anthropological ideas of culture, particularly the 'old' idea of culture as the way of life of a distinct people, have been misapplied in the government of Northern Ireland during the period of the peace process. Rather than accept disciplinary responsibility for this, I trace the provenance of the notions of culture and identity implicit in the Good Friday Agreement. While people trained in anthropology have been involved in implementing cultural policy, other disciplines—notably law, history and political science—have been more influential in its conception, with only occasional references to anthropology for legitimation. Paradoxically, the influence of the old anthropological concept of culture is a sign of the relative weakness of anthropological influence in government circles. Ultimately, though, anthropological circumspection in this regard might be preferable to the hasty and vainglorious claims of other academic disciplines.

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Jonathan Rynhold

Contrary to many claims, the 'pro-Israel' factor is not the dominant constraint on any US effort to impose a comprehensive peace settlement. Nor did the pro-Israel lobby play a decisive role in the failure to reach a comprehensive peace in the 1990s. The most significant effect of the pro-Israel factor in the United States is to give Israel the benefit of the doubt by putting the onus on the Arab side to demonstrate its sincerity concerning peace. When Arab leaders have done this, they have greatly reduced the lobby's ability to constrain US diplomacy. However, the greatest constraint on America relates to the balance of interests between the United States and the parties to the conflict themselves. For the parties the details of any agreement are of much greater importance than they are for the United States, hence they are willing to pay greater costs than the latter is willing to impose on any confrontation. Consequently, under most conceivable circumstances the United States cannot impose a comprehensive settlement.

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Sartre in Austria

Boycott, Scandals, and the Fight for Peace

Juliane Werner

While the World Congress of People for Peace 1952 in Vienna is generally viewed as Soviet propaganda, Jean-Paul Sartre counted it among the most important experiences of his life. His participation marks a major turning point in his evolution, insofar as it publicly confirms his status as a fellow traveler of the Communist Party. In the weeks leading up to the Congress, which was met by an extensive press boycott, Sartre had already caused a stir in the Viennese media by calling off the premiere of Les Mains sales, one of several theater scandals connected to this controversial and allegedly anti-Communist play. By examining the news coverage of these events, this article reveals the impact of Sartre’s interventions and shows how they changed the reception of existentialism in Austria.

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Hanno Balz

This article examines the changes in social movements, in particular the peace movement since the late 1970s, their processes of differentiation as well as their connections to older aspects of the movements. Of particular interest is the breadth of the peace movement, which succeeded in mobilizing several hundred thousand persons at the beginning of the 1980s. How points of conflict developed between this movement and an antiwar movement led by a “new youth movement” around 1980 is the focus of this article.

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Henrik Åström Elmersjö and Daniel Lindmark

History as a school subject has been a thorny issue for advocates of peace education at least since the 1880s. Efforts, including the substitution of cultural history for military history, have been made to ensure that history teaching promotes international understanding, not propagates chauvinism. The Norden Associations of Scandinavia, which were involved in textbook revision since 1919, achieved some success by altering contents, but national myths remained central to each country's historical narrative, making it difficult to give history education its desired international orientation.