The paradox of peace and power: Contamination or enablement?

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In debates about peace most discussions of power implicitly revolve around four types: (1) the hegemonic exercise of direct power related to force; (2) relatedly, the existence and impact of structural power related to geopolitics or the global political economy; (3) the exercise of international governmentality, soft or normative power, by IOs; and (4) local agency, resistance, discursive or physical. Each of these types of power, while relational, may be exercised from different sites of legitimate authority: the international, the state, and the local, and their legitimacy is constructed via specific understandings of time and space. Each type of power and its related site of authority has implications for making peace. This paper examines in theoretical terms how types of power block, contaminate, or enable peace of various sorts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-658
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Politics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.


  • Agency
  • Governmentality
  • International system
  • Peace
  • Peacebuilding
  • Power


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