Meanings of War and Peace

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Texas A&M University Press, 2001 - Discourse analysis - 215 pages
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.


Words of War Terms Concepts Levels of Discourse
Words of Reason Rationality and Rhetoric
Validities Scientific and Political Realities
Postrealism Just War and the Gulf War Debate
Body Mind and Soul in the Gulf War Debate
Womens Words Gender and Rhetoric in the Gulf War Debate
Talking about Dying Rhetorical Phases of the Somalia Intervention
Beer and Quiche in the Fast Lane Signalers Dilemma Democratic Debate and the Gulf War
Between Maastricht and Sarajevo European Identities Narratives Myths
Language and the Meaning of War and Peace

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Page 6 - DECLARE that since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed...
Page 47 - WHEN a man reasoneth, he does nothing else but conceive a sum total, from addition of parcels; or conceive a remainder, from subtraction of one sum from another: which, if it be done by words, is conceiving of the consequence of the names of all the parts, to the name of the whole; or from the names of the whole and one part, to the name of the other part. And though in some things, as in numbers, besides adding and subtracting, men name other operations, as multiplying and dividing...
Page 18 - With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union...

About the author (2001)

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.

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