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Peace-in-Difference: A phenomenological approach to peace through difference

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Hartmut Behr



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Routledge, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This paper develops the notion of “peace-in-difference”, based on a phenomenological approach to difference from German sociology in the 1920s to the French philosophies of Emmanuel Lévinas and Jacques Derrida. Such an attempt responds to a long-standing concern in peacebuilding theory and practice and is critical of essentialist and linear-teleological approaches to peace, as with the theoretical framework of liberal peace-building. As a consequence, “peace-in-difference” is scep-tical with attempts to define peace as a status, but rather envisions peace as a perennial process of dialogue. However, “peace-in-difference”, even though having the critique of liberal peace and subsequent research questions in common with post-liberal approaches, it is also critical with their construction of “the local” as as a binary opposition to “the international”. Though this binary is an attempt to overcome liberal legacies in International Relations (IR) and peace studies, it neverthe-less risks reintroducing essentialism. In contrast, a phenomenological approach infers a positive understanding of difference(s) which can be generative of peace, if and when perceived in non-essentialist ways and negotiated as such.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Behr H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding

Year: 2018

Volume: 12

Issue: 3

Pages: 335-351

Print publication date: 01/07/2018

Online publication date: 09/08/2018

Acceptance date: 16/07/2018

Date deposited: 16/07/2018

ISSN (print): 1750-2977

ISSN (electronic): 1750-2985

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/17502977.2018.1501980


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