Meanings of War and Peace
Presidential Studies - Rhetoric
6.125 x 9.25, 232 pp.
Illus., 9 tables.
Pub Date: 07/09/2001
Presidential Rhetoric and Political Communication
  paper
Price:        $19.95 s

978-1-58544-124-2
  cloth
Price:        $39.95 x

978-1-58544-123-5

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Meanings of War and Peace

By Francis Beer

When the stakes of public words and actions are global and permanent, and especially when they involve war and peace, can we afford not to seek their meaning? For three decades, Francis Beer has pioneered the effort to discover, describe, and connect pieces of the complex puzzle of war, peace, their interrelationship, and their causes.

In this volume, Beer (joined by colleagues as co-authors of some chapters) examines the cognitive, behavioral, and linguistic dimensions of war and peace. Language, he shows, is important because it mediates between thought and action. It expresses beliefs about war and peace and affects the perceptions of potential adversaries about one's own intentions. Using multiple perspectives and methods, he explores the uses of communication in international relations and the development of "meaning" for war and peace.

In this unique and innovative post-realist analysis, Beer examines how language transmits and creates meaning through interaction with specific audiences. His case studies include the Somalian intervention, Sarajevo and the Balkan conflict, and the Gulf War. Moving beyond the discrete words of war, the book takes a broader view of how political participants interact in war and peace through continuous streams of communication that reflect and construct worlds of meaning. This stimulating and challenging volume brings together insights and evidence from political science, cognitive psychology, linguistics, history, and rhetorical studies and applies them in a focused way to the problem of war and peace.

Francis A. Beer is a professor of political science at the University of Colorado. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and has published six books and monographs, including Peace against War: The Ecology of International Violence and Post-Realism: The Rhetorical Turn in International Relations, co-edited with Robert Hariman.

What Readers Are Saying:

“This offers a window for scholars of nonviolence and peace and conflict studies to theorize and validate the study of nonviolent and peach rhetoric, especially on the international stage. This book is a strong contribution to the literature on rhetorical analysis of political debate over the utility of war-making in the international arena. Among the strengths of Beer’s work is its timing: nearly half of the book is devoted to studying in U.S. congressional rhetoric of debating for or against attacking Iraq. This book provides a clear-eyed look at the invalidity of the rhetoric coming from hawks and the validity of that of the doves at a time when renewed scrutiny is urgently needed on the perils of the U.S. potentially starting another war–Gulf War II-at a time when support for such action from Arab nations and Muslim states is at an all time low.” --International Journal on World Peace

“Beer makes a much-needed contribution not only to the field of international relations but also to the area of peace research...” --Peace & Change

“An important and unique contribution to scholarship at the nexus of political theory, rhetoric, and the problem of war....he makes the case for taking discourse seriously in our understanding of how power is constructed and negotiated. But also he makes this case (in three sections devoted respectively to meaning/semantics, rhetoric, and audiences) with consistent attention to representations of war (usually the Gulf War) and implications for constructing less war-prone politics. He makes the category of war more complex...this project focuses on exactly the issue of our times: how to manage the tension between the universal and the particular, globalization and tribalism, McWorld and Jihad, in the post-Cold War era. As he ways, we are not at the end of history but in the process of writing new histories. This is not a book that any serious student of war and peace can afford to ignore.” --Robert L. Ivie, Professor and Department Chair, Indiana University

“At a methodological level alone, this book is an extremely important innovation. This is a book that makes an important contribution not only to international relations but also to political science and rhetorical theory.” --James Aune

“For three decades, Beer has pioneered the effort to discover, describe, and connect pieces of the complex puzzle of war, peace, their interrelationship, and their causes. In this volume, Beer (joined by colleagues as coauthors of some chapters) examines the cognitive, behavioral, and linguistic dimensions of war and peace. His case studies include the Somalian intervention, Sarajevo and the Balkan conflict, and the Gulf War. “This is not a book that any serious student of war and peace can afford to ignore.” --Robert L. Ivie, Indiana University

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