Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Erik Paul: Australian Political Economy of Violence and Non-Violence

Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Erik Paul: Australian Political Economy of Violence and Non-Violence

Article excerpt

Erik Paul

Australian Political Economy of Violence and Non-Violence

Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2016, pp. 114, hardback edition, $65.70.

Palgrave's 'Pivot' series provides the opportunity for authors to address key issues in short books. Erik Paul is an ideal contributor on the topic of violence and non-violence, having been a long-standing contributor to peace studies: he was the last president of the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, guiding its transformation last year into the newly independent Council for Peace with Justice. Early in the book he quotes the distinguished Norwegian peace activist Johann Galtung's view that: 'violence should be understood as avoidable insult to basic human needs and more generally to life, lowering the real level of need satisfaction below what is potentially possible'. Looking through this lens, Paul shows the diverse forms that structural violence takes, whether inflicted by states or corporations.

The book comprises eleven essays on themes at the interface of political economy and peace studies. It begins with an interpretation of violence as a tendency built into 'a hegemonic order characterised by the concentration of private power and wealth, the commodification of people and nature, the construction and manipulation of antagonisms and enemies, and the politics of fear as a US client state'. …

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