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Paradoxes of Peace in Nineteenth Century Europe$
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Thomas Hippler and Miloš Vec

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727996.001.0001

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Peace as a Polemic Concept

Peace as a Polemic Concept

Writing the History of Peace in Nineteenth Century Europe

(p.3) 1 Peace as a Polemic Concept
Paradoxes of Peace in Nineteenth Century Europe

Thomas Hippler

Miloš Vec

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter sets out the volume’s main purpose, which is to contribute to a critical rewriting of the contentions around the concepts of war and peace, and of their connections to other nineteenth-century European key concepts such as sovereignty, empire, security, humanity, civilization and barbarism, Christendom, and colonialism. These disputed fields are mapped out within the various topics discussed in this volume. The chapter argues that peace is fundamentally a polemical concept. Peace having become an unconditional value in modern politics, talking about peace necessarily involves the designate of ‘enemies of peace’. Moreover, the stronger party in an asymmetric power-relation has a vested interest in peace and the reference to peace serves in many cases as a camouflage for imperial or domestic domination.

Keywords:   peace, war, Christendom, polemic, sovereignty, empire, security, humanity, civilization, barbarism, colonialism

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