Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Peace has long been understood in political science in two quite distinct ways. The dominant conception of peace has been the absence of war. The very word peace (and the French paix ) derives from the Latin pax , meaning an agreement—a pact—to refrain from hostilities. This is sometimes characterized as “negative peace” as opposed to “positive peace,” with the latter denoting not just the absence of direct violence but also the absence of indirect or structural violence, sometimes described as the presence of justice. This entry surveys the religious and normative context within which peace came to be understood, the various ways in which peace has been seen as a subject of research, and the diverse explanations offered by political science on the conditions for peace. Given the implicit link between peace and war, peace was long understood largely through the lens of conflict and its management. During the ...