Davenport, Christian; Erik Melander & Patrick M Regan (2018) The Peace Continuum: What It Is and How to Study It. New York: Oxford University Press. 220 pp.

​ISBN: 978-0-19-068013-8

Alexandru Balas

SUNY Cortland

​The authors, inspired by different intellectual lineages, take the reader on a journey to explore the quality of peace. The book is a dialogue between intellectuals attempting to shift the focus to peace as a concept of study in its own right, rather than studying peace in the aftermath of violent conflicts. The three authors put forward different conceptualizations and operationalizations of peace, but converge on the need for a peace continuum. This quality of peace continuum allows for studying peace in all societies, even those that have not experienced prior violent conflicts for decades or centuries (approximately 70% of the countries are in a state of peace, but their peace quality differs). Peace is more than just the absence of violence and at the highest levels of the continuum it requires a sense of security and mutual respect for the identity of all major actors (political mutuality). The authors think of this high end of the continuum in different, but related, ways: Regan focuses on peace as an equilibrium in which the preferences of the actors are in favor of abiding by the rules of the system; Melander focuses on equality, consensual decision-making, and respect for the physical integrity of one’s opponent; and Davenport’s focus is on the role of behavior, organizations, language, and values creating a shared identity which accommodates non-violent conflicts at levels ranging from international to the local community. In addition to challenging scholars from various disciplines to compete towards a better understanding of peace, this book serves also as a state of the art overview of the conflict and peace studies literature.