Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

This book explores the meaning of peace according to (some of) the people who make it. Based on some 200 interviews, it empirically studies the visions of peace that professional peaceworkers from the Netherlands, Lebanon and Mindanao (Philippines) are working on. As such, it seeks to add a strong empirical element to the debate on liberal peacebuilding. The main argument of the book is that amongst practitioners, there is no liberal peace consensus at all. Rather, peace professionals work on a distinct set of peaces, that differ along four dimensions. In five case study chapters, the operational visions of peace held by Dutch military officers, diplomats and civil society peace workers, as well as civil society peace workers from Lebanon and the Philippines are explored and compared to each other. Differences are observed along both geographical and professional lines, but also within each group.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This chapter serves as an introduction to the themes discussed in this book, arguing why academics should be more interested in peace as a substantive phenomenon (positive peace) and in the different visions that practitioners engaged in peacebuilding have of peace. Specifically, it calls for an understanding of peace as a word with a plural: different kinds of peacebuilding build different peaces. It also introduces the four-dimensional peace cube as a conceptual tool to compare different visions of peace and provides a summary of the arguments made in the different chapters.
Gijsbert M. van Iterson Scholten

Chapter 2. Peace in Peace Studies: Beyond the ‘Negative/Positive’ Divide

Abstract
This chapter provides an overview of the academic debate on peace and peacebuilding. It starts with a discussion of classical concepts of peace, such as the well-known dichotomy between positive and negative peace, stable peace, peace as process and the democratic peace thesis. Along the way, seven dimensions are introduced along which these concepts differ from one another.
The second half of the chapter is devoted to the peacebuilding literature, specifically the liberal peace debates. It argues that these debates are not just about the best way to achieve lasting peace in (post-) conflict societies, but more fundamentally about different visions of what constitutes such a peace. Besides the liberal peace itself, four other visions can be distilled from the literature: hybrid peace, agonistic peace, welfare and everyday peace. Using the dimensions identified earlier in the chapter, these visions are compared to one another in order to disentangle what is at stake for the different sides.
Gijsbert M. van Iterson Scholten

Chapter 3. Western Dissensus, Non-Western Consensus: A Q Study Into the Meanings of Peace

Abstract
This chapter reports the results from a Q study amongst professional peace practitioners. It introduces five different visions of peace, that are compared along the dimensions identified in Chap. 2. The main argument developed in the chapter is that rather than a (Western) liberal peace consensus, a non-Western consensus can be observed. According to most of the Lebanese and Mindanaoan interviewees, peace is a personal endeavour. The Dutch, on the other hand, are divided over all five visions.
The chapter also trims down the seven dimensions found in Chaps. 2, 3 and 4: ontology (whether peace is seen as a process or a goal); domain (whether it is a personal or a political objective), its embedding in individuals or institutions and the scope of a vision. These four dimensions make up the peace cube that is used in the rest of the book.
Gijsbert M. van Iterson Scholten

Chapter 4. Military Visions of Peace

Abstract
This chapter introduces the visions of peace held by Dutch military officers. It argues that these military peace workers tend to think of peace as a ‘stairway’ of ever more holistic forms of peace, ranging from a minimal ‘freedom from fear’ that they seek to establish in (post-) conflict societies, to a holistic ‘peace-as-freedom’ that they defend at home. A second finding is that Dutch military officers are very relativistic about what they can achieve in (post-) conflict areas, more so than any of the other groups. Any step beyond establishing freedom from fear, including the establishment of some form of functioning state authority (statebuilding), a third concept of peace they adhere to, must be taken by local actors and in accordance with local traditions. This military attitude reflects some of the critique on the notion of liberal peace, specifically that associated with the local turn and everyday peace.
Gijsbert M. van Iterson Scholten

Chapter 5. Diplomats: Peace as Governance

Abstract
This chapter shows that when Dutch diplomats talk about peace, they talk about governance. Out of all the groups described in this book, they are the only ones working directly on the institutional embedding of peace, or peace-as-governance. The argument is made that this is still not a liberal peace, mostly because diplomats stress that peace is always a rather limited goal that should be distinguished from work on development or human rights. For some, this goal can also be the signing, or upholding, of a peace agreement, in line with work on peacemaking rather than peacebuilding. More personal visions of peace do not play any role in their work, diplomats all stress that peace is a political objective. This clashes with the non-Western consensus observed in Chap. 3
Gijsbert M. van Iterson Scholten

Chapter 6. Dutch Civil Society: Peace Writ Large

Abstract
This chapter is about Dutch civil society visions of peace. In contrast to diplomats and military officers, Dutch civil society peace workers stress that many activities and objectives can be subsumed under the umbrella of peace work, a vision dubbed Peace Writ Large. When asked to operationalize this broad vision in the context of the work they do, interviewees come up with two other visions of peace. The first is peace-as-process, which treats peace as a never-ending process (both political and interpersonal) that requires continuous dialogue, monitoring and intervention. The specific short-term objectives of this process are less relevant, what matters is that ‘the conversation is kept going’. When they do think of peace as a goal, they tend to agree with the military that the first priority is for people in conflict areas to experience freedom from fear.
Gijsbert M. van Iterson Scholten

Chapter 7. Lebanon: Civil Peace

Abstract
This chapter discusses the visions of peace held by Lebanese civil society peace workers. The interviewees from Lebanon work on three visions of peace, none of which is a political goal per se. Rather, they stress the importance of civil peace (silim in Arabic): the quality of the relations between the different groups that make up Lebanese society. Or, moving even further away from peace as a political phenomenon, they say that they work on peace as a personal endeavour: what every individual can do to maintain peaceful interpersonal relations. The few peace workers who do have a political view of peace stress that they see peace primarily as a method (non-violent activism), with ‘justice’ as its goal.
Gijsbert M. van Iterson Scholten

Chapter 8. Mindanao: Justice, Harmony and Peace of Mind

Abstract
This chapter focuses on civil society peace workers on Mindanao. These insist that the signing and implementation of a political peace agreement is not sufficient to speak of peace. Nor is freedom from fear, although some respondents concede that ordinary people might consider this to be all the peace they want. Professional peace workers, however, work on three other visions of peace. First, peace-as-justice, similar to non-violent activism in Lebanon, but with more stress on the desired outcome: ‘self-governance and a larger share of the natural resources that Mindanao has for the Moros. Secondly, peace of mind, a mostly indigenous vision that stresses the priority of good relationships over (political or economic) gains. Finally, like their Lebanese colleagues, Mindanaoan peace workers stress that in the end all three groups should live together in civil peace. Moros tend to favour peace as justice, indigenous Lumad peace of mind, and descendants of Philippino settlers civil peace.
Gijsbert M. van Iterson Scholten

Chapter 9. Conclusion: Visions, Divisions, Tensions and Solutions

Abstract
In this concluding chapter all visions are summarized and compared, using the peace cube as a conceptual tool. Three main faultlines are identified. First a professional one: governmental peace workers see peace as a limited goal, whereas civil society peaceworkers see it as a holistic process. Second, a geographical divide: Dutch peace workers tend to see peace as a political objective—dubbed ‘Security Council peace’—whereas for peace workers from Lebanon and Mindanao, it is primarily a personal endeavour—they work on ‘UNESCO peace’, or peace in the minds of men and women. Finally, a hierarchical divide: privileged groups tend to work on civil peace, or peace-as-harmony, whereas peaceworkers from marginalized groups favour peace-as-justice. These observations are tied back into the literature on peacebuilding, discussing both the four alternatives to liberal peace identified in Chap. 2, as well as more recent developments such as the notion of sustaining peace.
Gijsbert M. van Iterson Scholten

Backmatter

Additional information

Premium Partner

    Image Credits