Peace and Development: Towards a New Synthesis

Published date01 January 2008
Date01 January 2008
AuthorJon Barnett
Subject MatterArticles
This article is concerned with the intersec-
tion of peace and development theories.
Efforts to formally relate the two concepts
date back to the rise of both the idea of
‘development’ and growth in concern about
nuclear war after World War II.1Academic
thinking about the intersections of peace and
development arguably reached its zenith in
the 1980s (Galtung, 1989; Hettne, 1983;
Sørensen, 1985). At the same time, the inter-
national policy community was investigating
similar issues, for example through the
Brandt (ICIDI, 1983) and Palme (ICDSI,
1982) reports, which investigated the eco-
nomic and social opportunity costs of the
military–industrial complex and the rela-
tionships between economic growth and
military spending.
These early explorations of peace and
development sought to answer the question
‘what kind of development would facilitate
the emergence of more peaceful economic,
social and political structures?’ (Hettne, 1983:
340). To answer this question, Hettne (1983)
and Sørensen (1985) drew from the ‘Another
Development’ view proposed by the Dag
Hammarskjöld Foundation (1975), which
defined development as need-oriented, en-
dogenous, self-reliant, ecologically sound and
based on structural transformation. Yet this,
like Galtung’s (1985) ‘six cosmologies’
approach to peace and development, is
Peace and Development: Towards
a New Synthesis*
School of Anthropology, Geography and Environmental Studies,
University of Melbourne
This article develops a theory of peace as freedom that explains some important relationships between
peace and development. It does this by critically examining and then synthesizing Johan Galtung’s
theory of peace as the absence of violence and Amartya Sen’s theory of development as freedom.
Galtung’s theory of peace is clear on the meaning and causes of direct violence, but vague on the details
of structural violence. Sen’s theory helps overcome many of the problems associated with structural vio-
lence, although its focus on agents and the state tends to downplay the importance of larger-scale politi-
cal and economic processes. In the theory of peace as freedom, peace is defined as, and in praxis is
enlarged through, the equitable distribution of economic opportunities, political freedoms, social
opportunities, transparency guarantees, protective security and freedom from direct violence. The insti-
tutions required for peace as freedom are considered, and it is suggested that the pluralist state is the
best model for providing and maintaining peace as freedom. Some implications of this theory for exist-
ing and future analyses of the causes of violent conflict are discussed.
* Thanks to three anonymous reviewers and JPReditor Nils
Petter Gleditsch for their extremely helpful suggestions on
ways to improve this article, which was completed with the
assistance of an Australian Research Council Discovery
Grant DP0556977. E-mail:
1Although thinking about social order (peace) and social
progress (development) is arguably as old as human
thought itself.
© 2008 Journal of Peace Research,
vol. 45, no. 1, 2008, pp. 75–89
Sage Publications (Los Angeles, London, New Delhi
and Singapore)
DOI 10.1177/0022343307084924
84924_JPR_75-90.qxd 12/14/2007 2:44 PM Page 75

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