Words of Conflict, Words of War
How the Language We Use in Political Processes Sparks Fighting
At the heart of all conflict is language. From top officials involved in international political affairs to those of us involved in the politics of everyday life, everyone chooses and uses words to position themselves or their beliefs as correct and worthy of support—sometimes with the unintended result of spurring or escalating conflict.
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This highly insightful and cohesive group of studies reveals the power of political narratives to create conflict and peace.
Words of Conflict, Words of War: How the Language We Use in Political Processes Sparks Fighting is a fascinating exploration of the narratives leaders use to position both themselves and others in the course of political processes that lead to peace or conflict. Drawing on the relatively new field of "positioning theory," expert essays provide insights into the ways words position us—for better or worse—and influence our intended results. The focus on narratives, from the interpersonal to the international, leads to a better understanding of political processes and conflict resolution.
Part one of the study deals with micropolitics and personal positioning. Part two explores positioning by political parties and factions. Links between micro and macro are illustrated by leadership studies of individuals such as President Barak Obama, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President George W. Bush, Governor Sarah Palin, and the Reverend Ian Paisley. The focus throughout is on how a leader can use language to redirect collective politics in support of conflict or of peace.
- Includes contributions from 19 scholars, offering an international perspective on positioning
- Provides detailed case studies
- Presents six tables and four figures
- Offers an extensive reference list at the end of each chapter
- Illustrates how mere words can affect political processes and create conflict or peace
- Reveals how the narratives of enemies, for example, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and George W. Bush, can be similar at a deep level
- Provides an understanding of successes and failures in recent history to help ensure more effective negotiations, reduce conflict, and inspire peace in the future
- Has important implications across the fields of political science, communications, and political, social, and cross-cultural psychology