Structural Conflict, Systemic Violence, and Peace: A Guided Reading

Authored by: Michael Loadenthal

The Routledge History of World Peace Since 1750

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138069138
eBook ISBN: 9781315157344
Adobe ISBN:


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The transdisciplinary field of Peace and Conflict Studies has championed the cause of equality and peace, yet often bases its analysis in unacknowledged traditions of the critical left. Intellectual traditions from Marxism to anarchism are based in an understanding of structural inequality that are pervasive and relatively unchanged since their inception in the 1850s. From these intellectual roots, a host of liberatory, democratic, and peace-centric perspectives have emerged from feminist analysis to Occupied-inspired anti-capitalist critique. While the Marxist framework is firmly rooted in a stoic structuralism, these foundational concepts are extended through the work of neo-Marxists and poststructuralists to understand the nature of power and oppression as deterritorialized, boundless, fluid, and malleable. The following deconstructive, genealogical history traces Peace Studies’ understanding of the relationship between structure and violence through a variety of core areas including basic human needs, statehood, culture, ideology, and the question of whether violent inequality is inherent in the State. The discussion of the red-to-black spectrum aims to move beyond issues of disciplinary taxonomy and instead reengage with broader, epistemological questions regarding violence, peace, domination, hierarchy, and democratic governance. This chapter seeks to trace the history of a structural analysis embedded in peace and conflict, from the early libertarianism of Marx, up until the modern anthropologists and poststructural peace theorists.

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