Academic journal article International Journal on World Peace

Disciplinary Evolution of Peace and Conflict Studies: An Overview

Academic journal article International Journal on World Peace

Disciplinary Evolution of Peace and Conflict Studies: An Overview

Article excerpt

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

(Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1963 f

Peace is needed to perform peaceful actions for the blossoming of truth, love, harmony, happiness, and cooperation among humans across the ethnic, racial, religious, and national borders to work with each other. War feeds the greed of political gods, serves their emotional utopias, and spills blood through conflicts. A decade of war causes generations to cry and creates shadows of pain for centuries. In the contemporary world of science and technology, one day of scientific war with diabolical nuclear bombs could silence all life on earth in hours. It is our responsibility to promote peace, train our minds, and encourage civilized and dignified approaches to peace and conflict based on an accurate description of reality rather than the convenience of our hearts. For centuries, democracy achieved progress and replaced the dictatorship, but has failed to bring peaceful international relations. Social and political thinkers have explored an array of theories and concepts to understand the conflict, its causes, consequences, and contexts during pre-war situations, but this has still not led to the abolition of wars.

Peace is in transition and has not replaced the wars, even though those who are developing scholarship in the universe of peace are actually working against conflicts and wars. One problem of permanently establishing peace is the perpetual rise of antihuman elements within and outside state borders harboring the antitheses of peace-terrorism. No state in the contemporary geopolitical landscape is free from violence, but history reveals that when humans tire of bloodying one another, the final outcome is in the form of peace negotiations or treaties. From the Eternal Treaty2 to the emergence of United Nations organization, all peace treaties, negotiations, leagues, or organizations follow on the heels of lethal wars. In spite of ratifying peace treaties, states failed to permanently establish peace due to new or other factors. For example, the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations failed because Italy, Germany, and Japan withdrew their membership. Though India and Pakistan signed a cease-fire agreement and peace treaty in 2003, they failed to honor it. Due to geopolitical, ethnic, and religious disputes, internal and external rivalries between states and what Samuel Huntington calls "Clash of Civilizations," states engage in wars when security becomes a priority or when national interest is threatened. Moreover, non-state actors across the globe are the organized clusters that kill and destroy for power and glory. At the organizational and institutional level, there are more people engaged in the development of the weapons of mass destruction rather than in the construction of peace. It is high time to put more effort into the knowledge and propagation of Peace and Conflict Studies than strategies for conflict and war, particularly keeping in mind the imminent risk of a nuclear war.

Since the creation of the nation state system in 1648, there have been hundreds of wars with immense loss causing millions of human deaths and damage to property worth billions. In the twentieth century we survived two World Wars, 1914 to 1918 and 1939 to 1945, costing the lives of more than 60 to 70 million people. The massive amount of killing and destruction of these wars caused the growth of peace and anti-war sentiments which appealed to the intellect of many scholars across the disciplines to initiate peaceful international relations. Their main drive was to spread the culture of peace through research and develop new perspectives on peace and conflict, and explore the causes and consequences of various forms of conflict. …

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