Peace in Peace Studies: Beyond the ‘Negative/Positive’ Divide

  • Gijsbert M. van Iterson ScholtenEmail author
Part of the Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies book series (RCS)


This chapter provides an overview of the academic debate on peace and peacebuilding. It starts with a discussion of classical concepts of peace, such as the well-known dichotomy between positive and negative peace, stable peace, peace as process and the democratic peace thesis. Along the way, seven dimensions are introduced along which these concepts differ from one another.

The second half of the chapter is devoted to the peacebuilding literature, specifically the liberal peace debates. It argues that these debates are not just about the best way to achieve lasting peace in (post-) conflict societies, but more fundamentally about different visions of what constitutes such a peace. Besides the liberal peace itself, four other visions can be distilled from the literature: hybrid peace, agonistic peace, welfare and everyday peace. Using the dimensions identified earlier in the chapter, these visions are compared to one another in order to disentangle what is at stake for the different sides.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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