Rewriting peace and conflict
The Virtual Encyclopaedia represents a compilation of theory and empirical research in peace and conflict studies from de- and postcolonial approaches, emphasising the contributions from the research network ‘Postcolonial hierarchies in Peace and Conflict Studies.’
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Modernity/Coloniality
“Coloniality has to be conceived as the constitutive and permanent dark side of Modernity. Modernity is Coloniality.” (Araujo 2017)
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Decolonial
"Decoloniality and decolonisation [...] scrutinise the contemporary forms of coloniality that exist in more visible settler colonial structures as well as the hidden and less visible forms of coloniality." (Durdiyeva 2023)
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Intersectionality
"Intersectionality connects with a decolonial sensitivity privileging relational and geo-body politics of knowledge [...] which centre the experience of historically marginalised sectors." (González Villamizar 2023)
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Rewriting peace and conflict

While peace and conflict studies (PACS) is a burgeoning and diverse field, it still grapples with its colonial roots and trajectory. Postcolonial and decolonial approaches have pointed out that research and practice in PACS are based on West-driven epistemological and ontological grounds resulting from colonial structures of power that hinder and often misconstrue our understanding of peace, conflict, and violence and contribute to the reproduction of the structures sustaining different forms of violence. Dominant dynamics of knowledge production in the field have marginalized non-Western and indigenous epistemologies and worldviews. For a critical engagement that contests the effects of colonialism and coloniality of knowledge, scholars have emphasised the need to interrogate and problematise foundational concepts in the different disciplines of Social Sciences. Such endeavour also entails unsettling the patterns of (in)visibility by bringing the voices and different forms of knowledge of traditionally marginalised groups to the centre.

Against this background, the Virtual Encyclopaedia offers an interdisciplinary compilation of crucial theoretical and conceptual debates, empirical analyses, and thorough reflection on methods and knowledge production in the field from de- and postcolonial approaches, with an emphasis on the contributions from the collaborative network Postcolonial Hierarchies in Peace and Conflict. Rather than unambiguous and all-encompassing definitions, the Virtual Encyclopaedia aims to provide readers with the tools to critically approach peace and conflict studies through the lenses of postcolonial theory and decolonial thought.

 

Taking seriously the critique of the coloniality of knowledge and its effects on the field, the Virtual Encyclopedia aims to address epistemic hierarchies and inequalities by promoting the inclusion of multiple and diverse voices (in terms of fields, regions, and career stages) and plural perspectives, as well as fostering cooperative networks.

Entries

Classified into the two clusters ‘Theoretical and conceptual debates’ and ‘Methods, Knowledge production and dissemination’, the entries aim to provide an insight and orientation on key concepts and theories as well as empirical analyses which are important for a post-/decolonial perspective on peace and conflict. Each entry has a number of tags through which it is linked with other entries sharing those tags. The entries are  furthermore interconnected and draw from a diverse body of knowledges in dialogue including different formats such as audio, images or storytelling.

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Coloniality of Peace

Is there a universal peace? Historical and ongoing confrontations across the globe lay bare the bias of peace discourses: what peace is to one, can be oppression to another. In the light of this experience, activists and academics from the Global South have raised the issue of the coloniality of peace. The term describes how appeals to peace can be complicit with coloniality by supporting and reinforcing modern/colonial purposes of domination, control, and extraction, among others. To provide analytical tools to identify the coloniality of peace, this contribution builds on a range of critiques of ‘peace’ that have been enunciated from post- and decolonial stances.

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Collaborative Research

Dominant logics of knowledge production, such as epistemic imbalances, continue affecting collaborative research efforts and have proven difficult to overcome. Funding agencies and selection commitees are usually based in the Global North, which limits the inclusion of voices from the Global South in the initiation and organisation of research. On the ground, the awareness about how these standards have induced specific ways of doing research and reproduced power imbalances is even thinner. Many of these issues have gained increased visibility and small steps have been made to move away from the status quo. However, these have not led to a radical change in how collaborative research is framed, funded and executed.

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Peace in the Anthropocene

The interlinked climate, pollution and biodiversity crises are increasingly becoming the subject of peace and conflict studies and are playing an important role in peace work and conflict transformation through approaches such as environmental peacebuilding. In the context of societal relationships with nature in colonial modernity, however, the relationships between humans and the environment are usually only questioned in terms of their benefits, or in terms of their potential for causing or exacerbating conflicts and their consequences for humans.

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