Revisiting peace and conflict studies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch


In this article, I will first draw attention to the surprising, but ultimately
problematic trajectory of peace studies from the period of the Cold War to the
present day. This is a trajectory from ‘peace’ as a critique of dominant geopolitics
to one of ‘peace’ that has become part of the very dominant geopolitics it
initially set out to criticise. Secondly, I will map – undoubtedly in cursory and
incomplete fashion – the scholarly communities and literatures dealing with
questions of peace and conflict. Rather than a literature review or an attempt
at synthesis, my purpose is to highlight the broad variety of existing units of
analysis, motivations, theories and methodologies of peace and conflict
studies. Thirdly, I will propose a number of suggestions for a research attitude
that, in absence of a better word, I subsume under the heading of ‘critical
peace and conflict research’, striving to understand peace and conflict as
concomitantly subjective and objective, as critique and hegemony, as
normative and value-free, as local and global.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenges of Peace Research
EditorsLaurent Goetschel, Sandra Pfluger
Publication date2014
ISBN (Print)978-3-908230-95-3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
SeriesWorking paper / swisspeace


  • Peace research
  • Critical theory
  • Peacebuilding

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