International Relations is a vibrant field of significant growth and change. This book guides students through the complexities of over 40 central concepts and core theories, relating them at all times to contemporary issues and debates.

Each concept is divided into five sections to allow rapid familiarization with the topic and provide signposts for further exploration:

Core questions to address; Definition; Theoretical perspectives; Empirical problems; Core reading and useful websites

In addition the major theories are covered by six-part entries that give a 360 degree view of the strengths, weaknesses, applications and methodologies of each one:

An introduction to the core questions; Overview and background; Methodologies; Empirical application; Central criticism; Core reading and useful websites

Clear and highly readable, Key Concepts in International Relations is an essential guide for students on politics and international relations courses.

Peace and War

Peace and war

1. Core Questions Addressed

  • What is the difference between negative and positive peace?
  • What is the ‘new war’ thesis?
  • Why do quantitative conflict datasets reach different conclusions?

2. Definitions

To define peace, scholars have used three conceptual pairs: narrow and wide, positive and negative, and peace as state and peace as process. First, in everyday usage, peace and war are simply understood as opposites to one another – a notion reflected in the ‘traditional’ definition of peace as the absence of warlike conflict and violence or the threat thereof. This is exemplified by Raymond Aron's well-known definition of peace as a condition of ‘more or less lasting suspension of rivalry between political units’ (1966: 151). Scholars following this definition see war as defined by the use ...

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