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Peace Theories: An Overview of Approaches to Achieving World Peace
Peace is a concept that is fundamental to human life and happiness. It refers to the absence of conflict and violence and the presence of social and political stability, security, and justice. Over the years, various theories have been proposed to explain the causes of conflict and violence and to provide strategies for promoting peace. This article provides an overview of some of the most prominent peace theories, including realism, liberalism, constructivism, Marxism, feminism, peace psychology, and critical theory. Each of these theories provides a different perspective on the causes of conflict and violence and offers different strategies for promoting peace.
The Institute for MultiTrack Diplomacy defined three types of peace-building techniques required for a successful transition to a peace system: political peace-building, structural peace-building, and social peace-building.
Political Peace-building is often concerned with constructing political arrangements that give an overall environment to comprehend the various parties' connections and resources. Political peace-building involves political agreements, talks, peace treaties, etc. It is about constructing a legal architecture capable of addressing political requirements and managing the boundaries of the peacekeeping system. Negotiations, technical working groups, fact-finding missions, and other activities are examples of the political peace-building strategy. Political peace-building initiatives often focus on bringing peace when disputes arise between groups (inter-community conflict) or between states (international conflicts). In this view, the ultimate goal of political peace-building is for parties and leaders to agree and sign a peace treaty.
Second, structural peace-building is concerned with the equitable distribution of resources and power, repairing political and economic institutions, economic activities, and so on at the grassroots, medium, and top levels. Structural peace-building involves the development of structures, behavioural systems, institutions, and coordinated actions to promote the embodiment or implementation of a peace culture. It is about constructing an economic, military, and social infrastructure that gives actual and practical channels to express a new peace system. Activities associated with structural peace-building include disarming warring groups, repatriating refugees, monitoring elections, cooperative ventures for economic and social development, and so forth.
Structural peace-building or political development is a process of gradual change over time in which people become more aware of their capabilities, rights, and responsibilities; and use this knowledge to organise themselves in order to acquire real political power in order to participate in decision-making at the local level, and to choose their leaders and representatives at higher levels of government who are accountable to the people, and to plan for the future. As a result, avoiding corruption and exploitation, achieving social and economic growth, political stability and peace, and creating a politicised populace within the context of their culture and political system may be achievable.
Finally, Social Peace-building addresses topics such as emotions, attitudes, views, beliefs, values, skills (communication, negotiation, and mediation), and so on. It concerns people's sentiments, attitudes, views, beliefs, values, and skills as they are held and shared by individuals and groups. It is about constructing a human infrastructure of individuals dedicated to fostering a new culture, a "peace culture," inside the social fabric of communal and inter-communal life. Everyone lives inside some political system, whether formal or informal.
This political framework may or may not serve either the individual or the broader population as a whole. If growth is actually to serve the people in its broadest sense, the political system must be responsive to their needs and ambitions and protect their rights and property. Political peace-building and peacemaking are used interchangeably because they both refer to the employment of diplomatic, political, and occasionally military methods to cease hostilities and encourage discussion and negotiated resolution at the leadership level.
Theories of Peace
There are various theories of peace.
The Constructivist Theories of Peace
It views peace as a positive and dynamic concept constructed through cooperation and understanding. The social constructionist approach highlights the role of social interaction, communication, and collaboration in shaping peace. The role of culture and identity in peacebuilding is also emphasized in this theory. On the other hand, realist theories of peace see peace as primarily maintained through the balance of power and the use of force, with states being the primary actors in the international system.
Finally, liberal peace theories believe peace can be achieved through cooperation, international institutions, and the spreading of liberal values. The Below three sections highlight the importance of the spread of liberal values in promoting peace according to liberal theorists. Constructivist peace theories are centred on the idea that peace is not just the absence of violence but a positive and dynamic concept constructed through cooperation and understanding.
The Social Construction of Peace − According to the social constructionist approach, peace is a product of social interaction, communication, and collaboration among individuals and communities. This theory asserts that peace is not an objective reality but rather a subjective experience shaped by social norms, values, and beliefs.
The Role of Culture and Identity in Peace Building − Constructivist theorists also emphasize the role of culture and identity in shaping peace and conflict. They argue that cultural differences and conflicting identities can be sources of conflict, but they can also be used as a basis for cooperation and dialogue. By acknowledging and valuing cultural diversity, individuals and communities can build bridges of understanding and cooperation, promoting peace.
Realist Theories of Peace
Realist theories of peace are based on the premise that peace is primarily maintained through the balance of power and the use of force. This perspective is rooted in the realist tradition of international relations, which argues that states are the primary actors in the international system and that their actions are driven by self-interest and the pursuit of power.
The Balance of Power: Realist theorists argue that peace is maintained through the balance of power between states. They believe that states are in a constant state of competition and that the balance of power is a deterrent to war, as states are reluctant to engage in conflict when they know that their actions will trigger a response from other states.
The Use of Force: In addition to the balance of power, realist theorists argue that using force is necessary to maintain peace. According to this perspective, states must be willing to use force to protect their interests and maintain the stability of the international system.
Liberal Theories of Peace
Liberal theories of peace are based on the belief that peace can be achieved through cooperation, international institutions, and the spread of liberal values. This perspective is rooted in the liberal tradition of international relations, which argues that states can work together to promote peace and stability through cooperation and the rule of law.
International Institutions − Liberal theorists argue that international institutions, such as the United Nations, can promote peace by fostering cooperation and dialogue among states. These institutions provide a platform for states to negotiate and resolve conflicts peacefully without violence.
The Spread of Liberal Values − In addition to international institutions, liberal theorists also emphasize the importance of spreading liberal values, such as democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, in promoting peace. They argue that these values create a culture of cooperation and respect for the rule of law, which in turn helps to prevent conflict and promote peace.
Post-Structuralist Theory of Peace Building
Post-structural international relations reading examines questions of justice, equality, and power relations, but focuses on marginalised actors and discourses. Here, peacebuilding is about comprehending disparities and incorporating ordinary people's discourses on everyday peace into international debates in an emancipatory perspective. Peacekeeping is not often explicitly included in international relations theory. However, the structuring of international relations theories has spawned middle-level theories that deal more directly with peacebuilding.
Peace is a crucial aspect of human life and happiness, and its absence can lead to conflict and violence. There are several theories of peace, each providing a different perspective on the causes of conflict and violence and strategies for promoting peace. These theories include realism, liberalism, constructivism, Marxism, feminism, peace psychology, and critical theory. Each theory has its unique approach, some emphasizing the importance of power and force, others highlighting the role of values, norms, and beliefs, and others focusing on social and political justice.
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