Conflict, Security and Peace

Addressing UN Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, the books and journal articles we publish in this area focus on the impact of vast power differentials and the issues that need to be addressed as a threat to human rights and international security, including conflict-based migration and political instability. 

Our aim is to publish innovative research that supports finding ways to protect groups that can be an easy target for violence and discrimination.

Bristol University Press and Policy Press are signed up to the UN SDG Publishers Compact. In Conflict, security and peace, we aim to address the following goal:  

Conflict, Security and Peace

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In this article we identify the ways in which Leon Trotsky’s ideas constitute a powerful resource to understand the contemporary crisis of international relations and its historical roots in the 20th century. Trotsky’s concept of uneven and combined development has already been highlighted as a signal contribution by an established scholarship in and around the discipline of International Relations. While this is a welcome development, we contend that it has come at a significant cost, detaching Trotsky’s theoretical insights from his revolutionary politics. We employ a different mode of engagement with Trotsky’s ideas, focusing on the theory of Permanent Revolution as an expression of an original analysis of the dialectic between the national and the international. Far from being a theoretically detachable and politically erroneous appendage to the more fundamental and applicable concept of uneven and combined development, we argue that Permanent Revolution constitutes its necessary culmination, as well as Trotsky’s most significant contribution to classical Marxism. We then elucidate how, writing in the first half of the 20th century and applying his theory of Permanent Revolution, Trotsky was able to diagnose certain essential lines of political development – the rise and ongoing breakdown of American hegemony, the political degeneration and collapse of the Soviet Union, and the emergence and failure of the postcolonial independent nation states – tracing the long and crisis-ridden trajectory of international relations from the second half of the 20th century down to today.

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Geographies of Rivalry

Over the last two decades, China has emerged as one of the most powerful state actors in the post-Cold War international system.

This book provides a multifaceted and spatially oriented analysis of how China’s re-emergence as a global power impacts the dominance of the United States as well as domestic state and non-state actors in various world-regions, including the Asia-Pacific, Africa, South America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Europe and the Arctic. Chapters reflect on how and under which conditions competition (and cooperation) between the United States and China vary across these regions and what such variations mean for the prospects of war and peace, universal human dignity and global cooperation.

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Rates of hate crime within football have been increasing, despite the visibility of anti-racist actions such as ‘taking the knee’. With a unique collection of testimonies, this book shows that hostility is a daily occurrence for some professional football players, ranging from online threats to physical intimidation and violence at football matches.

Bringing a range of perspectives to this widespread problem, leading academics, practitioners and policy makers shed light on the best strategies to tackle racism, homophobia, transphobia and misogyny in football.

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Though children have never been absent from international studies discourse, they are too often reduced to a few simplistic and unidimensional framings. This book seeks to recover children’s agency and to recognise the complex variety of childhoods and the global issues that affect them. Written by an international list of contributors from Europe, Africa, North America and Australasia, chapters present highly nuanced accounts of children and childhoods across global political time and space split into three broad sections: imagined childhoods, governed childhoods and lived childhoods.

Through its analysis, the book demonstrates how IR is, somewhat paradoxically, quite deeply invested in a particular rendering of childhood as, primarily, a time of innocence, vulnerability and incapacity.

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Re-Pluralizing the Debate
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Within International Relations scholarship, the nature of international organizations and their relationship with each other and nation-states has been widely contested. This edited volume brings together a team of experts to shed new light on inter-organizational relations in world politics.

The book covers areas from the rule of law and international security to business and sport. Through its analysis, it demonstrates that, just as inter-organizations relations themselves are diverse and complex, research on this topic should also be pluralistic in order to draw new and valuable results and insights.

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The Secret Weapon of the Powerless
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Covert violence occurs in all social institutions—including families and close relationships, education, workplaces, politics, mass media, and healthcare—each with its own unique power dynamics that shape the incidence and patterns of these vicious acts. This book focuses on the types of surreptitious murder and mayhem that perpetrators intend to go unnoticed by would-be victims—until it’s too late. When such attacks are carried out with efficiency and competence, they may be disguised in official records as the result of illness, accident, or intentional self-harm, only on occasion to be later reclassified as the brutal crimes they are. This compelling and much-needed book is for all those who seek to understand—and strive to prevent—violence in society.

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Strategies and Recommendations for Overcoming Challenging Historic Legacies

Based on the findings of a major research project, this book investigates how European societies confront their troubled pasts today.

In particular, the text explores what kinds of measures can be taken and which strategies endorsed to facilitate the process of overcoming difficult historic legacies in seven European states, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Cyprus and Poland. The book is written by an international team of experts and examines strategies and actions in both policy-making and civil society of European countries, as well as throughout the EU as a collective.

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Prevention in Practice

How big a problem is torture? Are the right things being done to prevent it? What does the UN do, and why does is appear at times to be so impotent in the face of torture?

In this vitally important work, Malcolm D. Evans tells the story of torture prevention under international law, setting out what is really taking place in places of detention around the world. Challenging assumptions about torture’s root causes, he calls for what is needed to enable us to be in a better position to bring about change.

The author draws on over ten years’ experience as the Chair of the United Nations Sub-Committee for Prevention of Torture to give a frank account of the remarkable capacities of this system, what it has achieved in practice, what it has not been able to achieve – and most importantly, why.

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Violence, Development and Dialogue in Colombia

What role does dialogue play in peacebuilding? How can community-based activities contribute to broader peace processes? What can participatory research methods add to local efforts to build peace?

In this book the authors examine these questions through their work with two different Colombian communities who have pursued dialogue amidst ongoing violence, environmental injustice and socio-economic challenges. By reflecting on what people in these contrasting places have achieved through participatory peacebuilding, the authors explore different forms of local agency, the prospects for non-extractive academic engagement, and practical and theoretical lessons for participating in peace in other conflict-affected settings.

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Why States Fail to Act Decisively
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Why do international actors, including powerful states, often fail to develop clear foreign policies and instead adopt indecisive, ‘muddling-through’ approaches?

This book develops a concept and a theory of reluctance in world politics. Applying it to the study of regional crisis management by leading powers, it finds that reluctance emerges when governments fail to devise clear foreign policy preferences and face competing international pressures.

The study of reluctance in world politics sheds new light on some of the most pressing problems of our time, from weak crisis management to cooperation deficits in global governance.

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