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Wed 12 April
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Thu 13 April
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Fri 14 April
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Wednesday 12 April 2023 11.00 - 13.00
I-2 THE01 Historical Peace Research as Social Science History: Theories and Categories, Peace Movements and International Diplomacy
B33
Network: Theory Chair: Anne Heyer
Organizers: - Discussants: -
Norbert Fabian : „Steps to Peace“ – Social Democrats and Christians in the Peace Movement of the Early 1980s. Arguments against the International Arms Race and Discussions on Gradualism
This paper and presentation begin with an analysis of the text of the ‘Steps to Peace’ platform of Christians and Social Democrats from 1982/83 as a historical source. Retrospective and socio-historical discussions on platform proposals and on the causes that ended the Cold War are intended. Central considerations and aims ... (Show more)
This paper and presentation begin with an analysis of the text of the ‘Steps to Peace’ platform of Christians and Social Democrats from 1982/83 as a historical source. Retrospective and socio-historical discussions on platform proposals and on the causes that ended the Cold War are intended. Central considerations and aims of the platform were also supported by Egon Bahr, together with the former chancellor Willy Brandt the leading German détente politicians. The complete platform was published as documentation in the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau.
This platform was a contribution to German and international discussions on nuclear rearmament in the early 1980s and it influenced these discussions. The intention of the German chancellor Helmut Schmidt and his London speech of 1977 may have been originally and primarily to stimulate negotiation on disarmament of the soviet SS 20, but also on further nuclear arms control and on general disarmament steps in East and West. But the new Conservative British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher, the new U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and their advisors, from 1979/81 onwards focused primarily on a nuclear rearmament of NATO in Europe through Pershing II and new cruise missiles.
‘Steps to Peace’ combined Christian and social democratic ethical values and arguments for peace with results of international peace research. It referred to documents of the EKD and Pax-Christi, to the American peace movement with Senator Edward Kennedy and to the Christian peace movement in the GDR with their biblical slogan ‘Swords to Plowshares’. The issue was to stop the deployment of the Pershing II and the cruise missiles in Europe, but also to disarm the SS 20. The main political arguments of the platform were that the prevailing system of deterrence was instable. The very short warning times of the Pershing II in Europe, together with a possible error in the Soviet computer warning systems, could lead to a devastating nuclear strike and war by accident. Moreover, the system and ideology of deterrence created and stabilized enemy images, promoted the arms race between East and West, jeopardized the policy of détente and made steps toward international disarmament more difficult. The platform proposed initial, first steps by one side towards nuclear and conventional disarmament to encourage the other side to take similar steps, thus initiating and setting in motion a disarmament spiral and dynamics instead of an arms race. Another suggested step was the declaration and installation of regional nuclear-weapons-free zones. In this and other points the platform was inspired by the 1982 ‘Olof Palme Report’ of the ‘Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues’. A new formula of security policy was brought into discussion: “security = détente + disarmament steps + defensive defense + reduction of international causes of conflict”.
With the support of Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr, members who had demonstrated together with German trade unionists and Christians against nuclear rearmament prevailed in the SPD. With a more than overwhelming majority the 1983 party conference of the SPD, now the opposition party, voted against the deployment of Pershing II and cruise missiles in Germany and Europe. Egon Bahr pleaded in the discussions for a system of “common security”, because a nuclear war would totally destroy Germany and large parts of Europe and unite East and West in doom. German Historian Georg Schild and authors in the U.S. and U.K. argue that 1983, the year of the beginning of deployment of Pershing II in Western Europe, was the “most dangerous year of the cold war” and the world was “at the brink” because among others of a malfunction of the Soviet early warning system. Further sociohistorical research and also counterfactual considerations on this are indispensable.
A central historical controversy remains which factors and who caused and brought about the end of the Cold War: The economic weakness of the East, the military strength of the West and an intensified arms race, or peace movements in the West and also in the East? A possible and alternative thesis might be that there was some interaction between the influence of peace movements in the West, exerting pressure to negotiate disarmament, and the decision of Michel Gorbachev to gain a truce in the arms race by peace diplomacy and to use that pause for a restructuring of the Soviet Union (cf. Gustav Schmidt, ed., Ost-West-Beziehungen. Konfrontation und Détente 1945-1989, vol. 3, Bochum 1995). In the negotiations on nuclear arms control and international disarmament, Gorbachev employed key elements of gradualism as a successful strategy beginning in 1986. Originally, this strategy and theory was already developed in the 1960s by the social psychologist Charles Osgood and the sociologist Amitai Etzioni in the USA and then also discussed by the peace researcher Dieter Senghaas in Western Germany. Historical peace research and social science history can and should contribute to the historical controversies about the end of the Cold War by taking up and historicizing categories and theories of political and social science peace research. And methods of social science history can promote further studies, analyses and discussions on peace movements as social movements, on their intentions, including ethical ones, and on their failures as well as successes in a global, political and social context (Show less)

Lukas Mengelkamp : Why the History of Theories and Methods Matters
The aim of this paper is to emphasize why scholars interested in “explaining historical phenomena using the methods of the social sciences” should keep in mind the history of the theories and methods they want to apply. Using West German peace research as an example, it highlights what contribution a ... (Show more)
The aim of this paper is to emphasize why scholars interested in “explaining historical phenomena using the methods of the social sciences” should keep in mind the history of the theories and methods they want to apply. Using West German peace research as an example, it highlights what contribution a social history of ideas can add to this approach.
Peace research in West Germany was institutionalized as a Cold War Science. However, the peace research institutes were staffed with young researchers, socialized in the 1960s and thus extremely critical of the Cold War. They applied progressive and neo-Marxist theories to explain phenomena like the nuclear arms race. The concept of the “Military-Industrial-Complex” was central, which they tried to theorize but also to prove empirically using political economy approaches.
A conservative campaign led by Franz Josef Strauß during the 1970s against this strand of peace research was successful in dissolving of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (German Association for Peace and Conflict Research) in 1983. Already before that, pressures to apply less controversial theories and methods increased in the field, after the economic crisis of the 1970s had led to shrinking budgets. The evolving “competitive science regime” — the incentives to economize and compete for additional funding from foundations — nudged peace researchers towards policy research. Finally, critical approaches to peace research have been undermined on the fundamental epistemological level as well. In the “Age of Fracture” (Daniel T. Rodgers), as “imagined collectivities shrank; notions of structure and power thinned out”, concepts like the “Military-Industrial-Complex” became much more difficult to imagine. Today, the radical beginnings of West German peace research are almost completely forgotten.
An interpretation of the history of peace research as a social history of ideas has important implications. It helps us understand why research on the disintegration of the arms control regime using approaches towards a political economy of armament dynamics is almost nonexistent nowadays. Furthermore, historians who study nuclear history are discovering nuclear armament dynamics in the US in the 1970s, which they cannot reconcile with the established frameworks of “strategic stability” and “mutual assured destruction”. At the same time, they do not notice that there were scholars in the 1970s for whom these armament dynamics were by no means a surprise. Instead of testing these older theories against the new evidence, many discard the established theories of “strategic stability” and just propose the exact opposite, “strategic superiority”. One does not need to be overly critical to see a certain degree of affirmative follow-up to current developments in nuclear arms politics.
The example of West German peace research therefore reminds us that our current memory of useful and applicable theories and methods is shaped by the historical political, economic, and social contexts of the social sciences. Especially historians should keep that in mind when they look for promising theories and methods of the social sciences.
(Show less)

Christoph Weller : A Reconstruction of the Development of German Peace and Conflict Studies from a Social Science Perspective
From a historical perspective, there would have been many reasons why peace research was developing in Germany as early as the 1950s: A country divided by World War II on the geographical front of the Cold War and with clear anti-militarist protests as early as the 1950s were undoubtedly supportive ... (Show more)
From a historical perspective, there would have been many reasons why peace research was developing in Germany as early as the 1950s: A country divided by World War II on the geographical front of the Cold War and with clear anti-militarist protests as early as the 1950s were undoubtedly supportive contexts for the development of peace and conflict studies. But in the areas of tension between political expectations and scientific requirements, it was a difficult and laborious process to establish the research field of peace and conflict studies in West Germany in the post-war era. This process is to be reconstructed from a social science and, in particular, from a science-sociological perspective.
To reconstruct this development, the areas of tension between science and politics is considered in four dimensions that are particularly relevant for peace and conflict studies:
• Basic research or political practice-oriented research?
• Is "peace" a political or a scientific task?
• Are scientific concepts of peace suitable for socio-political discourse?
• What distinguishes science from politics when it comes to questions of peace?
In every stage of development of this politicized field of research in West Germany, changes in these dimensions can be seen. The multiple changes in the areas of tension between science and politics characterizes the specific development of peace and conflict studies in West Germany, which can be divided against this background in five stages of development.
While the first stage of development was dominated by scientific criticism of political decisions and developments (1960s), in the second stage politics influenced the development of the research field through financial support (German Society for Peace and Conflict Research, 1971-1983). In the third stage of development (1980s), the establishment of peace and conflict studies was shaped by a very pointed security policy-debate in the public and the unavoidable political positioning of political scientists. Only the end of the East-West conflict with many new research-problems and questions for peace and conflict studies opened up the space for more theory-oriented research efforts, epistemological debates and interdisciplinary cooperation without giving up the practice-oriented approach.
In Germany today, the political-normative orientation towards peace, interdisciplinary research and the practice-oriented approach are considered essential characteristics of modern peace and conflict studies. As such, since 2000 it has again received specific financial support from the state. This has also enabled peace and conflict studies to not only establish itself at research-institutes, but also to anchor it at numerous universities and to develop corresponding study programs. This has given rise to new generations of peace and conflict researchers in recent years.
With its institutionalization at universities, scientific journals, study programs, textbooks and special financial support, peace and conflict studies in Germany has to a large extent followed the classic path of scientific discipline development, but without giving up its political, practice-oriented and interdisciplinary claims. Much more, these claims lead to a special openness to meta-theoretical and methodological innovations, for example in connection with constructivist, intersectional, post-colonial or participatory approaches. They can be understood as scientific efforts to continue to work on the areas of tension between science and politics and at the same time to reflect on them (self-)critically.

References:
• Bogerts, Lisa/ Böschen, Stefan/ Weller, Christoph 2016: Politik, Protest, Forschung - Wie entstand die Friedensforschung in der BRD? In: Wissenschaft und Frieden 1/2016, 12-15.
• Weller, Christoph 2017: Friedens- und Konfliktforschung - Herausforderung für die Internationalen Beziehungen? In: Frank Sauer/ Carlo Masala (Hrsg.): Handbuch Internationale Beziehungen, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 551-572.
• Weller, Christoph/ Böschen, Stefan 2018: Friedensforschung und Gewalt: Zwischen entgrenzter Gewaltanalyse und epistemischer Gewaltblindheit, in: Zeithistorische Forschungen - Studies in Contemporary History 15: 2, 358-368.
• Rungius, Charlotte/Weller, Christoph 2019: Außenpolitikberatung als post-positivistischer Forschungsgegenstand: zur Konstitution wissenschaftlicher Politikberatung in der Politikwissenschaft, in: Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 29: 2, 307-324.
• Weller, Christoph 2020: Wissenschaftsethische Herausforderungen der Internationalen Beziehungen, in: Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen 27: 2, 99-107.
• Weller, Christoph 2020: Frieden ist keine Lösung: ein bescheidener Friedensbegriff für eine praxisorientierte Konfliktforschung, in: Wissenschaft & Frieden (W&F) 38: 2, 15-18.
• Rau, Andreas / Weller, Christoph 2021: Die Etablierung der Friedens- und Konfliktforschung in der Friedensstadt Augsburg, in: Zeitschrift des Historischen Vereins für Schwaben, 113. Band (2021), S. 337-360, Augsburg. (Show less)



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