Geographies of peace

News today from I.B. Tauris of a new collection edited by Fiona McConnell, Nick Megoran and Philippa Williams, Geographies of peace:

Geographies of peaceFrom handshakes on the White House lawn to Picasso’s iconic dove of peace, the images and stereotypes of peace are powerful, widespread and easily recognizable. Yet if we try to offer a concise definition of peace it is altogether a more complicated exercise. Not only is peace an emotive and value-laden concept, it is also abstract, ambiguous and seemingly inextricably tied to its antithesis: war. And it is war and violence that have been so compellingly studied within critical geography in recent years. This volume offers an attempt to redress that balance, and to think more expansively and critically about what peace means and what geographies of peace may entail. The editors begin with an examination of critical approaches to peace in other disciplines and a helpful genealogy of peace studies within geography. The book is then divided into three sections. The opening section [Contesting narratives of peace] examines how the idea of peace may be variously constructed and interpreted according to different sites and scales. The chapters in the second section [Techniques of peacemaking] explore a remarkably wide range of techniques of peacemaking.

This widens the discussion from the archetypical image of top-down, diplomatic state-led initiatives to imperial boundary making practices, grassroots cultural identity assertion, boycotts, self-immolation, ex-paramilitary community activism, and ‘protective accompaniment’. The final section [Practices of coexistence] shifts the scale and focus to everyday personal relations and a range of practices around the concept of coexistence. In their concluding chapter the editors spell out some of the key questions that they believe a geography of peace must address: What spatial factors have facilitated the success or precipitated the failure of some peace movements or diplomatic negotiations? Why are some ideologies productive of violence in some places but co-operation in others? How have some communities been better able to deal with religious, racial, cultural and class conflict than others? How have creative approaches to sharing sovereignty mitigated or transformed territorial disputes that once seemed intractable? Geographies of Peace is the first book wholly devoted to exploring the geography of peace.

Drawing on both recent advances in social and political theory and detailed empirical research covering four continents, it makes a significant intervention into current debates about peace and violence.

Introduction: Geographical Approaches to Peace


2. Peace and Critical Geopolitics – Simon Dalby

3. Building Peaceful Geographies in and through Systems of Violence – Nicole Laliberte

4. Unearthing the Local: Hegemony and Peace Discourses in Central Africa – Patricia Daley


5. Moving Away from the Edge: Rethinking International Boundary Practices – John Donaldson

6. Making Space for Peace: International Protective Accompaniment in Colombia – Sara Koopman

7. Contextualizing and Politicizing Peace: Geographies of Tibetan Satyagraha – Fiona McConnell

8. Transforming the Troubles: Cultural Geographies of Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland – Lia di Shimada


9. A place of empathy in a fragile contentious landscape: environmental Peacebuilding in the Eastern Mediterranean –  Stuart Schoenfeld, Asaf Zohar, Ilan Alleson, Osama Suleiman and Galya Sipos-Randor

10. Everyday Peace, Agency and Legitimacy in North India – Philippa Williams

11. Migration and Peace: the Transnational Activities of Bukharan Jews – Nick Megoran

12. Welcome to Sheffield: the Less than Violent Geographies of Urban Asylum – Jonathan Darling

Conclusion: Geographies of peace, geographies for peace

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