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This is the first of two chapters that together supply the book’s preliminary theory of literary valuing. It names the theory ‘preliminary’ because it provides less a full-blown theory than a kind of schema with various elements developed in more-or-less depth. It aims to develop this schema with enough substance to serve as a workable, flexible conceptual framework for understanding the activity of literary valuing, one that may be in itself of some use to the field of literary studies as well as serve as the ground of the following chapters. The chapter begins by returning to the two approaches to literary value broached in the introduction, assigning them the labels ‘ontological’ and ‘genealogical’. It describes those approaches in more detail, scrutinises their implications and identifies some of what they leave out. It then stakes out an alternative. Following the prompts of Chapter 1, it offers a systematic presentation of its framework for understanding literary valuing. This framework draws upon 1980s precedents but – inspired by the more recent work of Rita Felski – puts aside those theorists’ sceptical dispositions toward literary value. It argues, in a nutshell, that when pragmatically considered, literary value is the effect of an activity coextensive with its conception as a quality, an activity performed by actors within a network (as understood in terms of Actor-Network Theory) that shapes all individual instances, and an activity that is a social fact integral to the phenomenon of the literary and yet neither singular nor necessarily stable in character.
Literary value – in the sense of the worth, usefulness or importance of the literary – has been a topic of debate from no later than Plato’s impugning of poetry. But from the so-called canon wars of the last century to the present, literary value has also become a perplexing source of distress. With its complicities thoroughly unmasked, it no longer axiomatically serves as literary study’s central justification. Yet no consensus alternative has taken its place. This book, unlike other approaches to the topic, neither pursues an apologetic thesis about the most defining values of literature nor conversely provides a demystifying account of the ideological uses of specific ascribed values. Instead, arguing that the category of literary value is ultimately inescapable, it focuses pragmatically on everyday scholarly and pedagogical activities, proposing how we may reconcile that category’s inevitability with our understandable wariness of its intractable uncertainties and complicities. Toward these ends, it offers a preliminary theory of literary valuing and explores the problem of literary value and possible responses in respect to the literary edition, canonicity and interpretation. Much of this exploration occurs within Chaucer studies, which, because of Chaucer’s simultaneous canonicity and marginality, provides fertile ground for thinking through the problem’s challenges. The book thereby also supplies an extended reflection on the state of Chaucer studies. In using this subfield as a kind of synecdoche for the field as a whole, the book seeks to forge a viable rationale for literary studies within and without the academy.
The continuity of elites after war remains the norm despite efforts and recommendations to remove them. In order to better understand how peace develops, it is thus essential to pay attention to warring elites who take on prominent roles in post-war politics. This chapter examines the degree of relational peace in the case of Cambodia, where a peace process was initiated in the 1990s. This case is thus particularly useful if we want to understand the development of peace in the long run. Cambodia is an extreme case in terms of elite continuity, and is often categorized as a hybrid peace case. This chapter moves beyond that categorization by examining a range of signatories to peace agreements and their relations with their counterparts in the peace agreement from the time the agreement was signed until April 2018. It examines the political relationship among the domestic peace signatories of the Paris Peace Accords (October 23, 1991) over twenty-six years in Cambodia. It draws on content analysis of newspaper articles where signatories are mentioned in order to study how elite relations across a previously antagonistic divide have developed. The focus on newspaper articles inherently means a focus on the public role and statements of elites, as these internal elites shape both macro-politics and public opinion. Many years after signing the peace agreement, there are still reasons for concern. Overall, the main relationship is characterized by domination, distrust, and ideas of dependency.
This book contributes to scholarly debates about what peace is and how it can be studied by developing a novel framework and tools for studying peace as relational. Drawing primarily on peace and conflict research and sociology, it defines relational peace as entailing non-domination, deliberation, and cooperation between actors in a dyad, that the actors recognize and trust each other, and that they conceive their relationship as one between fellows or friends. The book provides tools for empirical studies of relational peace and applies the framework in several sites: Cyprus, Cambodia, South Africa, Abkhazia, Transnistria/Russia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Myanmar. It shows how the framework can be applied across cases, actors, geographical locations, levels of analysis, types of data, and stages of peace processes. The book offers guidance on how to use the framework empirically with a variety of methods. Each case study in the book also makes unique contributions to specific literatures, such as civil–military relations, frozen peacebuilding, nation-building, mediation, arts-based peacebuilding initiatives, post-war elite studies, ideational analysis, and post-Soviet studies and everyday peace. The book offers nuanced understandings of peace in particular settings and illustrates the multifaceted nature of peaceful relations. It shows how relationships are formed though repeated interactions, exchanges, and practices. The book also demonstrates that studying how actors understand these relationships is key for analyzing the nature of peace and its dynamic and processual character. By depicting relational peace practices, the book expands the field of studying peace beyond the absence of war.
The final chapter draws theoretical and comparative conclusions based on the case studies in the book. The relational approach contributes to a more nuanced understanding of peace beyond the absence of war by recognizing peace as a web of multiple interactions across time, space, and levels. The chapter discusses the advantages and challenges for studying peace as relational and the implications of this approach for theory, methodology, and policy. Relational peace practices need to be studied in an actor-centric and processual way, as it is the repeated interactions between actors that over time establish the practices of the relationship. The concluding chapter also addresses some of the methodological consequences and tradeoffs as identified throughout the book, particularly those related to delimiting actors, distinguishing appropriate data and sources for use when studying processes over time. The empirical study of relational peace allows us to see the varied practices of interactions, for instance, as well as the range of attitudes and ideas that relations are imbued with. It also helps us identify important future visions of the relationship, which can be important for the overall understanding and assessment of relational peace as well as for what is needed for peace to deepen. Importantly, the framework can be applied at different levels of analysis and allows us to identify changes in relationships and how relationships evolve over time. The chapter ends with some implications for policy and some suggestions of future avenues of research.
To the extent that ideas can be seen as guides for action we must identify, interpret, and understand those that shape peace. This chapter aims to use the behavioral, subjective, and ideational elements of relational peace outlined in the Introduction of this volume in an analysis of Russian ideas about peace. With its global influence on the rise, more knowledge about how Russia understands peace and peacekeeping has been called for. We operationalize the elements of relational peace in an ideational analysis of open sources in the Russian language and ask to what extent Russian ideas about peace reflect a relational view. A cross-section of governmental, academic, and other written sources are analyzed and described, providing insight into the current ideational patterns and linkages dominating public discourse in Russia. Particular attention is given to Russian peacekeeping in Transnistria and Abkhazia, where Russia was a key actor in endeavors to put an end to hostilities in the early 1990s. The text contributes to post-Soviet studies with an in-depth analysis of how Russian ideas about peace flow from politically enabling and fundamental carrier ideas.
The longstanding political dispute in Cyprus is routinely understood in terms of negative peace. The island has been free of armed conflict since 1974, even while the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities remain divided. But how useful is this conceptualization given a half-century of failed peace plans? This chapter applies the relational peace framework to develop an alternative understanding of Europe’s oldest unresolved political conflict. It primarily traces variation in the behavioral interactions, subjective attitudes, and ideas of relationship of the political elites in the Greek Cypriot community and between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders. The analysis employs between-methods triangulation to increase reliability and reduce researcher bias. Data are drawn from diverse primary and secondary sources, including historical records, public opinion surveys, policy reports, and English-language news sources. A relational view of peace has important implications for both preventing renewed violence on the island and resolving the Cyprus problem. It highlights considerable variation within Greek Cypriot society, an issue overlooked by a negative peace framework. Attention to this within-group competition and cooperation demonstrates that the Cyprus conflict is less static than past analyses suggest. The relational peace framework further brings to light an asymmetry between intercommunal and intracommunal relations. Efforts to advance the former are often undermined and exacerbated by within-group differences. Finally, the chapter shifts the analytic lens away from ethnonationalism and foreign interests to the strategic preferences and behaviors of each community. This underscores how peace on the island is difficult to achieve while within-group competition remains high.
Between 2011 and 2021, political reforms and renewed peace efforts significantly reduced violence in many of Myanmar’s conflict-affected regions. Despite this, people living in these areas did not agree that they enjoyed peace; rather, this period is described as a continuation of the war’s many injustices, marked by discrimination, marginalization, and fear. This chapter argues that a relational analysis of peace can enable us to make sense of this gap between drastically different assessments of peace and conflict. The analysis draws on focus group discussions, interviews, and participant observation with local civilians, civil society activists, and members of non-state armed groups conducted in 2019 in two regions, Kayah and Mon States. A relational perspective uncovers the fact that the fundamental logics of key conflict relationships, between the Myanmar state and ethnic minority groups and communities, have not been transformed by the peace process but instead manifest themselves in new ways, whereby armed violence has been replaced by other forms of domination, underpinned by inequality, non-recognition, and distrust. Exploring these relational dynamics enables us to pinpoint areas and issues that prevent the emergence of a sustainable and legitimate peace, and demonstrate the importance of relational aspects for people’s experiences of everyday peace.
The chapter studies relational peace at the negotiation table in the Philippine peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and discusses this in relation to the larger web of relations shaping the peace talks. Based on direct observations from the third round of talks in 2017 and interviews with representatives of the two parties, the chapter analyzes the behavioural interactions, intersubjective attitudes, and ideas of the relationship. The chapter shows that the relationship between the representatives can be characterized by one of “peace between fellows” and even in some cases “peace between friends.” The chapter also describes how the peace talks broke down just after the third round despite the good atmosphere at the table and discusses this breakdown in relation to three other sets of relations shaping the talks: (1) intra-party relations; (2) relations between the leaders of the respective parties; and (3) relations to and within civil society. Hence, the chapter sketches the broader web of relations within which peace talks unfold. It concludes by drawing lessons for relational peace and pointing toward the importance of transforming the Philippine political system to enable conflict by political rather than violent means.
This chapter examines affect and joy as key analytic concepts and themes that run through the data. Firstly, Hickey-Moody explores Spinoza and Deleuze’s writings on affect and joy. She then examines the children’s artworks as materialisations of feeling, communicated through line, shape, form, tone, imagination and matter. The adults’ conversations are similarly drenched with affect. Faith is an affectively charged issue. It is impossible for such intimate matters to be devoid of emotion and connectedness to others, both of which are defining aspects of affect. The connectedness to others which is both part of collaborative art-making and participating in a faith is what also creates joy, as Spinoza explains it. To the extent that acts of connection, empathy and support facilitated through faith practices are real, they bring joy to those who experience them. This chapter explores affect and joy as created through children making artworks and as themes that run through the parents’ focus group discussions and interviews.