Why, Then, Is It So Bright? Towards an Aesthetics of Peace at a Time of War

Bleiker, Roland (2003) Why, Then, Is It So Bright? Towards an Aesthetics of Peace at a Time of War. Review of International Studies, 29 3: 387-400. doi:10.1017/S0260210503003875

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Author Bleiker, Roland
Title Why, Then, Is It So Bright? Towards an Aesthetics of Peace at a Time of War
Journal name Review of International Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0260-2105
Publication date 2003-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0260210503003875
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 29
Issue 3
Start page 387
End page 400
Total pages 14
Place of publication Cambridge, UK
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Subject 440101 Aesthetics
360100 Political Science
Abstract "Why do the nations so furiously rage together?" ask the voices of the choir in Georg Friedrich Handel's The Messiah (1742). And so ask two excellent recent books by senior German international relations scholars: Dieter Senghaas' 'Klange des Friedens: Ein Horbericht' (Sounds of Peace: A Listener's Report) and Ekkehart Krippendorff's 'Die Kunst, nicht regiert zu werden: Ethische Politik von Sokrates bis Mozart' (The Art of Not Being Governed: Ethical Politics from Socrates to Mozart). These books deserve sustained engagement, and attention among Anglo-Saxon readers, not only because they employ unusual aesthetic sources to investigate the political (from music to painting, poetry and theatre), but also because the ensuing ruminations offer a formidable challenge to prevailing practices and conceptualisations of international relations. Although suffused with a strong pacifist spirit, both volumes advance more than mere programmatic oppositions to war. They offer inquiries into the dialectic of violence that can make war appear inevitable or legitimate, even when it is only a straightforward struggle for power and superiority. Such problematisations are particularly needed today, at a time when the promotion of global peace and justice is becoming increasingly couched in terms of a violent suppression of forces that threaten the existing order. To challenge this automatic resort to militaristic means as the only way of maintaining security is not to question the need for order or to forego the use of force to defend humanitarian causes. Rather, the key is to oppose a narrowing down of political debates in a challenging time, for precisely at such moments do we need as many insights as possible into the problem of war and peace.
Keyword Peace
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 09 Feb 2004, 10:00:00 EST