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Integral Peace & Power: A Foucauldian Perspective

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This paper analyzes five “paradigms” used for conceptualizing and operationalizing peace in terms of a “practicality test” that represents a set of assumptions concerning the exercise of power. It is argued that theories belonging to three of the five paradigms do not pass the practicality test in a way that leads to them being effectively marginalized from the mainstream of academic study and institutional activity. Adopting a Foucauldian perspective based on his distinction between “negative” and “productive power,” and his idea that the pervasive and nebulous nature of “power networks” requires an incremental and non-systematic approach to long-term social and political change, this paper argues that key assumptions underscoring the “practicality test” need to be revised. This is to effectively make the “practicality test” redundant thereby allowing the hitherto marginalized paradigm of “integral peace,” and to a lesser extent environmental and feminist paradigms, to be reconsidered as a “practical” strategy for establishing global peace.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of International Service, American University

Publication date: July 1, 1998

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