The Peace Continuum: What It Is and How to Study It

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The idea of studying peace - over studying war, genocide and political violence (hereafter violent conflict) and then inferring about peace - has gained considerable traction in the past few years after languishing in the shadows of conflict for decades but how should it be studied? The Peace Continuum offers a parallax view of how we think about peace and the complexities that surround the concept (i.e., the book explores the topic from different positions at the same time). Toward this end, we review existing literature and provide insights into how peace should be conceptualized - particularly as something more interesting than the absence of conflict. We provide an approach that can help scholars overcome what we see as the initial shock that comes with unpacking the 'zero' in the war-peace model of conflict studies. Additionally, we provide a framework for understanding how peace and conflict have/have not been related to one another in the literature. To reveal how the Peace Continuum could be applied, we put forward three alternative ways that peace could be studied. With this approach, the book is less trying to control the emerging peace research agenda than it is trying to assist in/encourage thinking about the topic that we all have some opinion on but that has yet to be measured and analyzed in a way comparable to political conflict and violence. Indeed, we attempt to help facilitate a veritable explosion of approaches and efforts to study peace.

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Oxford University Press Inc
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