Journal Article: Friends, Fellows, and Foes: A New Framework for Studying Relational Peace

Authors: Johanna Söderström, Malin Åkebo and Anna Jarstad

In this article, we suggest that taking a relational view of peace seriously is a fruitful avenue for expanding current theoretical frameworks surrounding peace as a concept. Paving the way for such an approach, this article conducts a review of the literature that takes on peace as a relational concept. We then return to how a relationship is conceptualized, before turning to how such components would be further defined in order to specify relational peace. Based on this framework, we argue that a peaceful relationship entails deliberation, non-domination, and cooperation between the actors in the dyad; the actors involved recognize and trust each other and believe that the relationship is either one between legitimate fellows or one between friends. The article clarifies the methodological implications of studying peace in this manner. It also demonstrates some of the advantages of this approach, as it shows how peace and war can coexist in webs of multiple interactions, and the importance of studying relations, and how actors understand these relationships, as a way of studying varieties of peace.

Special Issue: Preventing Future Ethnic Conflicts in West Kalimantan

Author: Asmawita Fithri Hasyim Syah

This paper analyzes the history of ethnic conflicts in West Kalimantan as well as the strategies previously used for conflict resolution and peacebuilding with the aim of contributing to the prevention of future ethnic conflict in the region. It builds on data collected through in-depth interviews, focus groups, and ethnographic research in West Kalimantan, and focuses on episodes of conflict and peacebuilding from 1950 and onwards. The findings of the analysis demonstrate that traditional dialogue and mediation have been the most successful strategies to resolve conflict and prevent further outbreaks of violence. Through traditional dialogue, violent conflict between the Dayaks and Madurese has largely stopped since 1999. Consequently, it is recommended that traditional forms of dialogue should take place regularly to provide forums to address conflict issues non-violently and, at an early stage, to prevent future eruptions of violence.

Special Issue: Peace and Protection of Minority Rights through Constitutional and Legal Institutionalization in Muslim-Majority Countries

Author: Benjamin Yek Kwan Pwee

This paper looks at the majority-minority conflict between the Muslim-majority and non-Muslim minority populations in Islamic and Muslim-majority countries using Malaysia as a case study. It examines how non Muslim ethnic and religious minorities in Malaysia have been voicing their concerns and protesting against an ongoing Islamization of Malaysia, where they feel their private and public lives being encroached upon by Islam and Islamic laws and regulations, imposed by the Muslim-majority. Some examples of these voices of protests are from Dr. Kam-Weng Ng, Johan Saravanamuttu, and the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA). The paper goes on to introduce different types of minority rights and concerns. Such an analysis identifies and specifies concerns that require different responses. The paper also outlines Islamic political thought on pluralism and diversity within an Islamic worldview and how researchers like Abdullah and Alim draw from Qu’ranic sources to argue for the protection of non-Muslim minorities. Finally, this paper looks at recent political writings by Malaysian Islamic thinkers’ conceptualizations of Islamic governance that protects minority rights.

Special Issue: The Extents and Limits of ASEAN’s Adoption of Women, Peace and Security Agenda

Author: Fitriani

The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) adoption through UN Security Council Resolution No. 1325 in 2000 is a global acceptance of the struggle for respect for the rights of women, as well as acknowledgement for the need to include their meaningful contribution to peace. However, such acceptance of the WPS agenda is relative and varied between regions and countries in the world. This article focuses on the extents and limits of WPS adoption in the Southeast Asian region, using as case studies ASEAN and its member states. The article provides an overview of the history of the WPS agenda and its gradual ASEAN adoption, shifting the initial regional commitment from focusing on women’s economic and human rights to their involvement in mediation and peace. The article argues that the nature of ASEAN, with its principle of non-interference, preference for non-binding mechanisms and varied development on women’s empowerment, hamper the adoption of a structured implementation of the WPS agenda through regional action plan.

Special Issue: Introduction: Exploring Varieties of Peace in Asia

Authors: Elisabeth Olivius and Veronica Strandh

This special edition highlights how notions of peace, as well as institutions, practices and relationships that can foster peace, are shaped by and need to be anchored in their specific context of implementation. All three articles show that the experience of peace differs between people in the same location along axes of inequality and difference such as gender, ethnicity, and religion. In exploring how peace varies, we thus need to attend to variation across space and place as well as to variation between differently positioned individuals and groups within society. Shedding new light on these issues in their respective empirical settings, these three articles constitute important contributions to an ongoing research effort aiming to provide a fuller picture of what peace is, how it is manifested, experienced, and understood, and how this varies.

Journal Article: Visions of Peace Amidst a Human Rights Crisis: War on Drugs in Colombia and the Philippines

Author: Salvador Santino F. Regilme Jr.

Focusing on the illegal drug problem in Colombia and the Philippines, the central puzzle of this paper constitutes two fundamental questions: How do state leaders justify their respective “war on drugs”? How do they construct and discursively articulate ideals of peace in the context of the illegal drug problem? This paper compares the post-9/11 Colombian war on drugs (2002–2010) vis-à-vis the Philippine war on drugs under the Duterte administration (2016–2019), particularly in terms of how their presidential administrations articulate “peace” in the context of resolving the drug problem. The paper examines the varying discourses of peace, investigates how those local discourses relate to global discourses on peace and illegal drugs, and underscores how and under which conditions those peace discourses portray the material distributive conflicts in those societies.

Authors: Elisabeth Olivius and Jenny Hedström

This article explores the gendered dynamics of Myanmar’s post-war economic reforms through an analysis of women’s experiences of development in Kayah (Karenni) state. In Myanmar, ceasefires and a reduction of armed violence combined with state-driven economic liberalization reforms are conditioned by, but also contribute to remake, gendered relations of power, privilege and marginalization. While new land legislation and development projects have contributed to loss of land and livelihoods among rural populations in general, our study demonstrates that women living in conflict-affected border areas are disproportionally affected. Drawing on interviews and participant observation, we show how this is directly related to an overarching gendered political economy defined by legacies of conflict, discrimination and uneven processes of development, which positions women as particularly vulnerable to new forms of insecurity, dispossession and depletion generated by post-war economic transformations.

Authors: Patrik Johansson and Abrak Saati

Peace can take many different forms and be expressed in a myriad of different ways that go well-beyond “peace as the absence of war”. Though recent scholarly contributions within this vein of research acknowledge the empirical reality of a variety of “peaces”, we are yet to understand how – methodologically – researchers can go about the endeavor of developing tools that allow us to describe and classify varieties of peace. This paper addresses this knowledge gap. It brings attention to different methods for empirically capturing varieties of peace when peace is approached as a situation, as a relationship or as an idea. Though its purpose is to illustrate a “smorgasbord of methods” for analyzing varieties of peace, it also argues that any effort to approach such an analysis ought to be based on theoretically coherent sets of types. This is so because it will allow the researcher to provide a more nuanced picture of different varieties of peace.

Authors: Anna Jarstad, Niklas Eklund, Patrik Johansson, Elisabeth Olivius, Abrak Saati, Dzenan Sahovic, Veronica Strandh, Johanna Söderström, Malin E. Wimelius and Malin Åkebo

Peace studies scholars are increasingly calling for more sophisticated and nuanced conceptual models for exploring peace. A new working paper by the Varieties of Peace team, entitled “Three Approaches to Peace: A Framework for Describing and Exploring Varieties of Peace”, makes an important contribution in this direction. To capture the complexity of peace in its empirical diversity, this framework approaches peace in three different ways: as a situation or condition in a particular locality; as a web of relationships; and as ideas or discourses about what peace is or should be. Thereby the paper points towards fruitful ways forward in advancing conceptual understandings and empirical analyses of peace that can facilitate systematic, comparative, qualitative analyses while at the same time accounting for the complex, multifaceted nature of peace.

Author: Anna Jarstad and Sandra Segall

The case of Mitrovica in Kosovo as a divided post-war city has been traditionally portrayed as a paradigmatic space where frictional peacebuilding and interethnic violence thrive. In this paper, Jarstad and Segall explore the city beyond the concept of negative peace –this is, the absence of war– and engage in an assessment of the peaceful relations between Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serb residents. Through informal conversations, field notes and 15 in-depth interviews, the authors find that despite the overarching conflictual relations there are also multiple strands of everyday peace at the societal level. Even in spaces in the city where a history of violence is entrenched, the situation can seldom be reduced to purely conflictual: casual communication, cooperation on practical matters and co-existence in shared spaces are daily peace acts that prove friendly relations amidst violence and tension.

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