Pragmatic Apparatus – Conceptualising peace and its preconditions: The anti-Pelagian imagination and the critical turn in peace theory

Cited by Lee Sonogan

The Critical Turn By Michael Morton | Used | 9780814323762 | World of Books

Abstract by Sophia Dingli

This article examines the conceptualisations of peace and its preconditions manifested in the critical turn in peace theory: bottom-up approaches which begin with particular contexts and postulate diverse local actors as integral to the process of peace-building. This article argues that the turn is at an impasse and is unable to address the crucial charge that its conceptualisation of peace is inconsistent. To explain the persistence of inconsistency and to move us forward, the article analyses, evaluates and responds to the turn through the lens of Nicholas Rengger’s work on the anti-Pelagian imagination in political theory. This is defined as a tendency to begin theorising from non-utopian, anti-perfectionist and sceptical assumptions. Through this examination the article argues that the critical turn is anti-Pelagian but not consistently so because it often gives way to perfectionism, adopts naïve readings of institutions and postulates demanding conceptions of political agency and practice. This inconsistency with its own philosophical premises makes the turn’s conceptualisation of peace and its preconditions incoherent. Finally, the article sketches an alternative account of peace which draws upon a number of anti-Pelagian scholars and mobilises Rengger’s particular defense of anti-Pelagianism. The suggested alternative, the article argues, provides us with a more coherent theory of peace and a way out of existing dead ends.

Publication: Journal of International Political Theory (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: Aug 24, 2020 Doi:

Keywords: Anti-Pelagianism, critical turn, Nicholas Rengger, peace (Plenty sections and references in this research article)

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