Special Issue "The Politics of Peace and Conflict"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 February 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Iain Atack

International Peace Studies, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: peacebuilding and conflict prevention; the ethics and politics of nonviolence; Sri Lanka; comparative peace processes; NGOs in development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The politics of peace and conflict is an inter-disciplinary field of study, concerned with developing an understanding of the origins of violent conflicts and possibilities for their resolution and transformation, as well as the conditions for building sustainable peace.  This requires skills in conflict analysis, as well as an understanding of different approaches to conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

The dynamics of war, armed conflict and political violence are constantly changing, from the geopolitics of the Cold War to “new wars” and intra-state violence, to transnational non-state groups, such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, and the interplay between local, regional and global dimensions of conflict.  This affects the requirements of peace processes and the transition from violent conflict to sustainable peace, involving interaction between governments, civil society and multilateral organisations.

This Special Issue invites articles that will contribute new insights into the sources and dynamics of armed conflict and political violence, as well as efforts to resolve, transform and prevent such politically-motivated violence and achieve sustainable peace.   A wide range of theoretical and empirical approaches to the topic are invited.  This can incorporate critical reflections on specific conflicts as well as broader debates within peace and conflict theory.  Possible themes include (but are not limited to) the normative dimension of peace, conflict and war (e.g., just war theory, pacifism), the contribution of religion to both conflict and peace, alternatives to political violence, such as nonviolent political action or civil resistance, and analysis of sources of war and the requirements of peace in terms of gender.

Dr. Iain Atack
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • conflict
  • peace
  • war
  • conflict resolution
  • peacebuilding
  • peace processes
  • ethics
  • gender
  • religion
  • nonviolence

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Human Rights Violations and Violent Internal Conflict
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020041
Received: 10 September 2018 / Revised: 14 December 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
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Abstract
This research project uses econometric methods and comparative, cross-national data to see whether violations of human rights increase the likelihood of the onset or escalation of violent protest, terrorism and/or civil war. The findings show that these types of violent internal conflict will [...] Read more.
This research project uses econometric methods and comparative, cross-national data to see whether violations of human rights increase the likelihood of the onset or escalation of violent protest, terrorism and/or civil war. The findings show that these types of violent internal conflict will occur and escalate if governments: (1) torture, politically imprison, kill, or “disappear” people, (2) do not allow women to participate fully in the political system, including allowing them to hold high level national political office, and (3) do not allow women to participate fully in the economic life of the nation by ensuring equal pay for equal work, by encouraging their entry to the highest paid occupations, and by protecting them from sexual harassment at their workplaces. These types of violations of human rights and the existence of large horizontal inequalities in societies independently produce an increased risk of the onset and escalation of many forms of violent internal conflict. The results also provide some evidence for the argument that there is a trade-off between liberty and security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Politics of Peace and Conflict)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Politics of Social Structures in the Palestinian Case: From National Resistance to Depoliticization and Liberalization
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7040069
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 16 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
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Abstract
This article examines the role of Palestinian civil society organizations in resistance struggles against Israeli military occupation in the 1970s and 1980s. The research focuses on the civil society transformation and shift from national resistance in the politically motivated framework of Israeli–Palestinian conflict [...] Read more.
This article examines the role of Palestinian civil society organizations in resistance struggles against Israeli military occupation in the 1970s and 1980s. The research focuses on the civil society transformation and shift from national resistance in the politically motivated framework of Israeli–Palestinian conflict of the 1970s and 1980s to internal and depoliticized processes in the 1990s. The overall purpose of this study is to provide knowledge about the role of civil society organizations in Gaza and the West Bank in the Palestinian national struggle and promote a deeper understanding of the changing role of Palestinian civil society following the Oslo peace process in the 1990s. The research methods are based on a supportive and integrated combination of theory and field research including interviews with civil society and academic representatives. The main findings and conclusions suggest that the transformation of Palestinian nationalist and secular grassroots organizations and the shift towards depoliticization and liberalization in the 1990s is the result of the Oslo peace process and the subsequent creation of a Palestinian “liberal civil society” in response to the requirements of international donors and their liberalization agenda. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Politics of Peace and Conflict)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Leadership Styles and War and Peace Policies in the Spanish–Basque Conflict: A Discourse Analysis of José María Aznar and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7040068
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to establish possible links between leadership styles and war and peace policies in the Spanish–Basque conflict. To this end, an analysis was performed of the styles of two Spanish premiers, José María Aznar (1996–2004) and José Luis [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to establish possible links between leadership styles and war and peace policies in the Spanish–Basque conflict. To this end, an analysis was performed of the styles of two Spanish premiers, José María Aznar (1996–2004) and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (2004–2011), both of whom were involved in the same conflict with similar peace policies. The structure of the paper is as follows: an overview of the literature on leadership styles in armed conflict situations and the construction of a theoretical framework; a review of the historical and biographical context; a description of the interview content analysis methodology for measuring leadership styles; a classification of Aznar and Zapatero on the basis of their leadership styles and a comparative analysis of their policies and those enforced by other leaders in a context of internal armed conflict; and the conclusions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Politics of Peace and Conflict)
Open AccessArticle
Nonviolence and Religion: Creating a Post-Secular Narrative with Aldo Capitini
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(3), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7030050
Received: 11 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
This article argues that nonviolence is a valid framework for religions to build up a post-secular narrative. Drawing from the approach of Aldo Capitini, I claim that religions can choose nonviolence as a religious path to integrate the different narratives of secularism via [...] Read more.
This article argues that nonviolence is a valid framework for religions to build up a post-secular narrative. Drawing from the approach of Aldo Capitini, I claim that religions can choose nonviolence as a religious path to integrate the different narratives of secularism via the concepts and practices of liberation and openness. In particular, nonviolence adds self-rule to an immanent framework; it offers resilience to the society; and it adds “the heroism of peace” to the political sphere. The result is the construction via facti of an innovative post-secular narrative. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Politics of Peace and Conflict)
Open AccessArticle
Sharing Lessons between Peace Processes: A Comparative Case Study on the Northern Ireland and Korean Peace Processes
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7030048
Received: 9 February 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
In both Northern Ireland and Korea, the euphoria following significant breakthroughs towards peace in the late 1990s and early 2000s turned into deep frustration when confronted by continuous stalemates in implementing the agreements. I explore the two peace processes by examining and comparing [...] Read more.
In both Northern Ireland and Korea, the euphoria following significant breakthroughs towards peace in the late 1990s and early 2000s turned into deep frustration when confronted by continuous stalemates in implementing the agreements. I explore the two peace processes by examining and comparing the breakthroughs and breakdowns of both, in order to identify potential lessons that can be shared for a sustainable peace process. Using a comparative case study, I demonstrate the parallels in historical analyses of why the agreements in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Northern Ireland and Korea were expected to be more durable than those of the 1970s. I also examine the differences between the two peace processes in the course of addressing major challenges for sustaining the two processes: disarmament; relationships between hard-line parties; cross-community initiatives. These parallels and differences inform which lessons can be shared between Northern Ireland and Korea to increase the durability of the peace processes. The comparative case study finds that the commitment of high-level leadership in both conflict parties to keeping negotiation channels open for dialogue and to allowing space for civic engagement is crucial in a sustainable peace process, and that sharing lessons between the two peace processes can be beneficial in finding opportunities to overcome challenges and also for each process to be reminded of lessons from its own past experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Politics of Peace and Conflict)
Open AccessArticle
Oil and Gas Rents and Civilian Violence in the Middle East and North Africa, 1990–2004: A Resource Curse, or Rentier Peace?
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(3), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7030039
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
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Abstract
Acts of civilian violence have long plagued parts of the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Extant research debates whether countries that rely on natural resource revenue for economic solvency are more or less likely to experience such violent events. This analysis takes a [...] Read more.
Acts of civilian violence have long plagued parts of the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Extant research debates whether countries that rely on natural resource revenue for economic solvency are more or less likely to experience such violent events. This analysis takes a novel approach to this issue, examining the unique effects of publicly and privately controlled oil and gas rents on civilian violence in the MENA region from 1990 to 2004. Data on civil violence events are drawn from the World Handbook of Political Indicators IV. Results indicate that publicly owned oil and gas rents reduce civilian violence, while privately owned oil and gas rents do not significantly affect such events. This lends support to the notion that oil and gas rents are not necessarily a curse, and can actually foster a “rentier peace.” More broadly, these results underscore the importance of delineating ownership structure when examining the relationship between natural resources and conflict. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Politics of Peace and Conflict)
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Open AccessArticle
Deconstructing Civil Society Actors and Functions: On the Limitations of International Frameworks for Fragile States
Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7020030
Received: 17 January 2018 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 20 February 2018 / Published: 23 February 2018
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Abstract
Over the past three decades, there has been a steady increase of funds by the international community to support civil society organizations (CSOs) in fragile states. Surprisingly, this growing attention has not strengthened local civil society landscapes in a way that it would [...] Read more.
Over the past three decades, there has been a steady increase of funds by the international community to support civil society organizations (CSOs) in fragile states. Surprisingly, this growing attention has not strengthened local civil society landscapes in a way that it would lead to processes of social transformation. On the contrary, civic freedom and space is shrinking around the globe. In analyzing prominent international aid-effectiveness frameworks and donor strategies towards civil society, this paper will put forward one central argument. The way in which civil society actors and functions are currently appropriated threatens deep-rooted social transformation thereby impeding processes of structural and political change—necessary for the transition from conflict to sustainable peace. In delineating, how actors and functional approaches informed peacebuilding and development policy and practice, their strengths and limitations will be examined. Doing so, we draw on different case studies and examples from the literature. We find that existing frameworks for fragile states operate on a presumed model of a public sphere and civil society that may or may not exist. Such an approach disregards an organic formation of a civil society landscape thereby impeding processes of structural, social, and political change in times of fragility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Politics of Peace and Conflict)
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