Eternal peace of the graveyard: The language of peace discourse and the construction of the global humanitarian concentration camp

The idea of peace has gained a hegemonic place in the discourse of intellectuals and the mass media. From being a preoccupation of religious and utopian sages throughout history, a vision of a peaceful world emerged as a fashionable occupation for peace activism in the 1960s and ultimately in the 21...

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Published in: Communicatio Vol. 38; no. 1; pp. 64 - 83
Main Author: Sonderling, Stefan
Format: Journal Article
Language: English
Afrikaans
Published: South Africa Taylor & Francis Group 04-01-2012
UNISA Press
Taylor & Francis Ltd
Subjects:
War
Online Access: Get full text
Summary: The idea of peace has gained a hegemonic place in the discourse of intellectuals and the mass media. From being a preoccupation of religious and utopian sages throughout history, a vision of a peaceful world emerged as a fashionable occupation for peace activism in the 1960s and ultimately in the 21 st century peace research has become a fast-growing industry. The assumed need to end wars and violence and to enforce peaceful existence on individuals, groups, societies and the entire world has been unquestionably accepted as if a self evident truth. By accepting such dubious claims many scholars have consciously and unconsciously distorted historical data in order to produce an image of an ideal peaceful world. Yet increasingly the belief in the ability to abolish war and eliminate conflict is being questioned and conflict prevention is seen as unrealistic, undesirable and based on misguided assumptions. Thus, if achieving peace is counterproductive what are the motives, aims and consequences of peace enforcement? This article begins a critical interrogation of the idea of peace and peace discourse and the formative value of war as human reality. The article uncovers the genealogy of peace, evaluates the relationships between peace and war and exposes the deceptive strategies and tactics of peace discourse as it manipulates language and the mass media. The article concludes that the consequences of enforcing peace do not produce a beautiful society but a nightmare where war is seen once again as a blessing.
ISSN: 0250-0167
1753-5379
DOI: 10.1080/02500167.2011.627566