New article collection introduced by John Gledhill and Jonathan Bright explores ‘state of the discipline’ of peace and conflict studies

24 April, 2019

A new collection of articles in the Journal of Global Security Studies introduced by John Gledhill with Jonathan Bright of the Oxford Internet Institute seeks to assess the ‘state of the discipline’ of peace and conflict studies.

‘Peace’ and (violent) ‘conflict’ are often seen as conceptual mirror images of one another; peace is the absence of conflict, and conflict is the absence of peace. Given this conceptual interdependence, some scholars see that the study of war-making and the study of peacemaking are complementary –or even functionally identical – academic projects. Others, however, see that studies of violence and war-making are antithetic to studies of peace and peacemaking.

The six contributions to the forum explore these contrasting perspectives.

The introduction offers provocations for debate. The two contributions that follow consider connections and disconnections between the study of conflict and studies of postconflict peacebuilding and transitional justice, respectively.

The next two contributions focus on areas of investigation that do not fit neatly into either the ‘peace’ or ‘conflict’ categories – gender and nonviolence – and the authors explore how studies of these topics might create bridges between scholarship on peace and studies of violent conflict.

The concluding contribution argues that ‘mainstream’ peace and conflict research has come to be dominated by positivist treatments of war and violence, and it draws attention to alternative approaches that have the potential to transform and ameliorate social relations.

Read the full issue.