Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 December 2020
This essay develops a conceptual frame for the analysis of peace under a comparative area perspective. I discuss the main concepts (peace, violence, conflict) and assess them in relation to four main theoretical schools (realism, liberalism, cosmopolitanism, critical), demonstrating in the process how a global approach to peace resolves many of the difficulties these theoretical schools encounter by placing specific emphasis on the need to focus a lens on both international and national dynamics across cases. I also address the problem of reliable comparable date and suggest that a comparative area studies approach may be preferable as a means to measure the potential for and progress toward peace. I provide evidence for the added value of such a perspective based on an analysis of peace in Latin America. The concluding section discusses the necessity of a hybrid outlook on peace, which requires sustained action on the part of international and local actors toward reducing conditions of structural violence, and it formulates some avenues for future research.