strategies are bordered around a sequential approach Focus is

strategies are bordered around a sequential approach. Focus is chiefly on the termination of war followed by the introduction of reforms intended at increasing participation. On the other hand with the end of war peace took a back seat in the political agendas which had turned towards normal problems. Post-war protests in opposition to the existing neoliberal policies were largely criminalised and the quandary of security and crime dominated the public discourse, demobilizing social protests and undermining democratic reforms. Yet it may be agreed that peace is more than the absence of war or other manifestations of violence.

The pathway to peace remains long, complicated and non-linear. This developed following the Cold War when international peace-building strategies defined peace as the absence of external and internal war in politically democratic and market-oriented societies this was known as the liberal peace building concept. It was primarily based on the experiences of Western developed countries, state centred and highly normative. From the foregoing there are very serious reservations about whether this can be mimicked in other world regions and whether it can be done in a short period of time.

Achieving peace cost Europe many centuries and millions of victims. The writer is of the view that the situate ethics speaks to these circumstances as it is quite evident that in the western developed countries it was possible because of say the resources. The thinking that the same may be done in other parts of the world which have not reached the same status in terms of development would be tantamount to grabbing at straws and it can safely be stated that failure will be guaranteed.

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In the present day, Europe carries on observing many manifestations of violence (e.g. against women, migrants, and other marginalised groups), and it is far from certain that post–World War II peace is irreversible.Experiences with the liberal peace-building put forward that there is no shortcut to peace using a Western template. In El Salvador and Guatemala in Central America, Mozambique and Angola in Southern Africa and Cambodia and Timor Leste in Southeast Asia. The United Nations and other international actors supported liberalpeace-building in the early 1990s.

While none of these countries has experienced war recurrence the data on violence and democratic reforms (state repression,homicide, political and civil rights, the political regime), exhibit that they have only enjoyed mixed success with liberal peace-building. It is quite clear that there is no recognisable or linear relationship between violence indicators, the guarantee of civil and political rights and political regime. An example in question despite being the most violent country El Salvador has recorded the highest success with regard to political transformation. Timor Leste posits that apparently the most promising example of liberal peace-building, has experienced increasing levels of violence and authoritarianism according to reports. In the interim, Mozambique was apparently in danger of witnessing 20 years of peace come to an end following the Mozambican National Resistance’s (RENAMO) 2013 pronouncement to abandon the peace agreement because it did not see any chance of a democratic change of power. This is a clear illustration of the fact that there are no cohesive patterns of post-war development that are in keeping with the liberal peace-building paradigm and the application of a one size fits all is not appropriate given the circumstances.

Although made in the context of the Cold War former German chancellor and Nobel Peace laureate (1971) Willy Brandt’s quote that “Peace is not everything. But without peace, everything is nothing” is still relevant today given the broad consensus on the vital importance of peace for development, economic growth, political participation, and social cohesion, among others. In a peaceful society it is not just the absence of war or collective armed conflict that matters; various other forms ofdirect physical violence also need to be reduced or eradicated.The first crucial element in the development of a global approach to peace is the proposition that the opposite of peace is not war but rather various forms of direct physical violence (Pearce 2016). Decisive for peace is thus the absence, reduction, and control of direct physical violence. This goes beyond the narrow understanding of peace but does not overstretch the concept by including the absence of structural and cultural forms of violence. At the same time, this concept of peace is not state centred and is therefore comparable across different world regions.

Nevertheless, comparable data are a setback due to the contentious issue of framing, which is a product of fragmented research along disciplinary lines and the over-reporting, under-reporting, or lack of statistics. Data on violence are highly disputed and many times part of the conflict. This is not just an academic problem; it also has serious repercussions for policies. Violence framed in the tradition of Clausewitz as“the continuation of politics by other means” has a certain level of legitimacy, while violence framed as “greed” and serving only personal enrichment lacks legitimacy. Ending political violence can be discussed or negotiated by the relevant actors, so-called criminal violence calls for law enforcement. However,it is paramount importance to note that boundaries are blurred and a clear-cut distinction is not possible.

Participants can change their discourse,or the perception of actors can change. Many liberation movements such as the South African National Congress or the Vietcong were regarded as “terrorists” during the Cold War. Later, the legitimacy of their social, political, and economic claims was recognised, and most of these groups were accepted internationally. The question is thus who frames specific forms of violence as legitimate or illegitimate? Posing such questions clearly outlines that indeed a diverse approach in ethics with regards to research in peace and conflict ought to be adopted so as to harness all forms of society lest some states are left behind.

Peace-building is one of the very important policy fields for a truly global approach in social sciences based on the inclusion and work with alternative theoretical approaches andvoices (Narlikar 2016).

At the same time, there is an increasing acknowledgement that different manifestations of violence are closely related (Davenport 2007).A second vital element of a global approach to peace is the assumption that conflicts are a given in any society and that their non-violent transformation is a key condition for peace. The idea of transformation goes beyond the management or resolution of specific conflicts, including changes at the structural level (Mitchell2002). To develop a strategy that can tackle conflicts, it is necessary to examine global history to find evidence of violence reduction and peaceful co existence as well as non-Western state-centric models of conflict transformation. A comparative area studies approach that combines the context sensitivity of area expertisewith disciplinary knowledge can contribute to both the generalisation and betterspecification of research findings (Acharya 2014). This does not disqualify universal norms and values regarding human rights. On the contrary, such an approach recognisesand builds on the Global South’s contributions to many of the norm-generatingprocesses regarding violence and human rights after World War II (Sikkink2014). These norms provide a shared frame of reference in a world increasinglyinterconnected via political, economic, and social globalisation. Peace research has provided vast evidence that processes of change are contentious and very much prone to conflict. Nonetheless, little is known about the variations in change-related conflict across the globe. Social change affects the structures of society and provokes realignments of the relations and the distribution of power between central actors. In the twenty-first century growing interdependence and a multitude of (state and non-state) actors influence and shape these processes. A comparative frame for the analysis of peace and conflict transformation needs to start with the analysis of these conflicts and their specific expressions.

A comparison of the most recent data on conflicts unveils some interesting regional variations as well as multiple patterns of peace-building worldwide. on the subject of violence, it is observed that armed conflicts are most common in sub-Saharan Africa, followed by the Middle East and then Asia. State repression is most intense in SouthAsia, followed by the Middle East and North Africa and then sub-Saharan Africa.

In terms of homicides, the Americas are the most violent, followed by sub-SaharanAfrica, where as Asia has the lowest homicide rate. However, when it comes to environmental conflicts, Latin America has the highest numbers. Regarding mass mobilisation the highest level of protester violence (2000–2014) is documentedfor Ivory Coast in Africa, Bangladesh in Asia, Turkey in the Middle East, Brazil in South America, and Greece in Europe. A systematic review of these (and, potentially,other) data could provide evidence of regional and sub regional patterns of conflict, violence, and peace-building opportunities.

The academic debate on collective violence focuses on two main incompatibilities:control of territory and government. Territorial control has historicallytriggered conflict and violence across the globe. The most prominent theories onstate formation and war analyse this link (Tilly 1985; Toft 2014). Even in a world ofsovereign states where borders are internationally guaranteed, this issue remainsa topic of conflict – as evidenced by secessionist movements in Ukraine and Spain,for example. Government conflicts, on the other hand, are about political order andthe legitimacy thereof. They involve various manifestations of violence with actorstypically looking to overthrow the government, enforce participation, change therules of the game, or secure power via repression (Cederman, Hug, and Krebs 2010;Davenport 2007). Government conflicts have occurred across different regions inspecific historical settings. During the second half of the twentieth century, nearly all Latin American armed conflicts were fought between guerrilla movements and authoritarian governments. Similar conflicts can be observed in sub-Saharan Africaand Asia, although the patterns of mobilisation differ there.During the last decade, non-state violence received a lot of attention due tothe debate on the “new wars.” This category transcends the state-centric definition of war because the state is not directly part of the conflict. Here, non-state armed actors fight for control of territory, resources, and people. Although most armed actors are labelled “criminals” due to their lack of an explicit political agenda, such conflicts resemble early state-formation experiences, and such actors are similar to Tilly’s (1985) “stationary bandits.”We also need to take into account that each region hosts a small number of countries with very few or no incidents of armed conflict and low levels of repression and homicide. Botswana, Uruguay, and Bhutan are exceptional in regard to violence. However, our knowledge of the relevant factors (i.e. actors, structures, and institutions) is rather limited. It is quite surprising that economic development seems to be of less importance than regime stability (Ansorg and Schultze 2014).

Hence, it is essential to analyse the relevant conflicts, old and new.Despite variation in the specific dynamics and manifestations, all these conflict types are related to the broader processes of social change, which challenge existing patterns of territorial control and political order. Globalisation and the spreadof capitalism link various cultural contexts and social change. However, specific interactions produce a variety of results. For example, patterns of mobilisation differacross time and space. In Europe interstate war and nationalism played a majorrole in state-formation and nation-building. In the Global South this process showsa broad range of outcomes: In Latin America nationalism was rare, and mobilisationwas built on ideology, clientelism, or populism. In sub-Saharan Africa andthe Middle East ethnic and religious patterns of mobilisation continue to play animportant role. In East Asia and South Asia nationalism is more prevalent than inSoutheast Asia, where ethnic and religious forms of mobilisation are more common.

These patterns of mobilisation, as well as the related cultural and historical valuesand norms, not only play a key role in war and collective violence but also shape thenature of peace processes and the non-violent transformation of conflicts. Elite accountabilityis important in all contexts but even more so where state repression orresource conflicts dominate. Recognition of indigenous or religious rights provides a basis for peace in regions that have experienced ethnic and religious mobilisation.Participation cannot be reduced to voting once in a while. Multiple forms ofviolence require multiple pluralist answers.

Current debates on peace-building strategies centre on the viability of the liberalpeace paradigm, which views negotiated war terminations, comprehensive peaceaccords, and democratisation as the most important milestones. Critics of this approach highlight its emphasis of Eurocentric and state-centred models, a lack of localownership, and the production of hybrid institutions that may cause more problems than they help to solve. state repression that can occur during authoritarian peace-building.

A global approach to peace could enable us to circumvent normative debates and make it possible to bridge narrow and broad peace concepts.


A global approach to peace differs from a sequential liberal peace approach, whichis based on a rather linear pattern of stopping mass violence first, stabilising second,and transforming last. Recurring cycles of violence and the closing of spacesfor participation show that we need more creative and comprehensive strategies..

However, this remains a highly contentious issue for local and regional elites, who perceive these rather small reforms as a threat to their social and economic status.Instead of finding ways to make this a win-win situation, the resulting political polarisationhas endangered the overall process. At the same time, a variety of violent actors are trying to capitalise on the lack of consensus regarding the scope of peace.

Successfully implementing the peace accord requires (i) a quick peace dividend forthe larger population, (ii) support for local peace constituencies monitoring theimplementation of the agreement, and (iii) advocacy for a broader process of nonviolentconflict transformation.

In general, internal and external peace-builders need a roadmap to guide them along the extensive and difficult path from collective mass violence to broader concepts of peace. Reducing violence, delivering a minimum level of justice to thevictims, and redistributing economic and social resources need to be included incontext-specific variation of any such roadmap. It might be necessary to promote asomewhat narrow notion peace without losing sight of the requirements of a broaderconcept of peace.

The World Bank and the United Nations’ new flagship report on violence prevention(United Nations and World Bank forthcoming) and the German government’sguidelines on crisis prevention (The Federal Government 2017) are important stepsin the right direction. They highlight the need to support changes at the structuraland institutional levels and to strengthen and cooperate with reform-oriented actors.Inclusiveness is the new buzzword. However, the translation of these guidelinesinto concrete policies depends on the reform of the international economicand social order as well as on the willingness of actors on the ground. These are bothhighly contentious arenas. Past experiences with comprehensive peace agreementsreveal the difficulties this entails. While many of these agreements include more orless detailed provisions for important reforms, implementation is mostly limitedto immediate security provisions. Even where civil society has mobilised in favourof war termination, other priorities shape the everyday life afterwards. Therefore,local peace constituencies are needed to monitor agreements and advocate for nonviolentconflict transformation. In many post-war contexts change agents (e.g. socialmovement representatives, human rights advocates, or the independent media)are threatened or become victims of selective political violence. As internationalactors leave for the next theatre of acute crisis, local power relations take over. Aprofound non-violent conflict transformation can only occur if direct physical violenceis penalised and delegitimised. This requires local and external actors to havelong time perspectives and to clearly prioritise peace across all policy fields.


From the foregoing it is very clear that no clear cut appraoach may be adopted in peace and conflict research as ethics creats a Pandora of circumstances which do not have a specific means of being dealt with.It should be noted that the tension between universal ethics andlocal values and norms exists. Particularly in a global world, ethics in culturally diverse and global environments may necessitate the opening of closed attitudes. There is a need for a hybrid approach of universality withdiversity and illustrate how this was attempted in two current research projects.

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