Editorial introduction.

Author:Bigo, Didier

Created in 1990, the journal Cultures & Conflits is concerned with the diverse forms of political violence. Its first project was to report on the changes that occurred in the contemporary world from a multidisciplinary perspective, seeking to go beyond the compartmentalization of studies dedicated to the international dimensions of conflict. This compartmentalization can be theoretical, so that conflicts are perceived as elements of foreign policy, of geostrategy or of international relations. It can also be geographical, a form of compartmentalization that is particularly strong among French academics, for whom reflections are developed in terms of "zones" (Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Pacific).

Cultures & Conflits opts for a comparative analysis of contemporary societies and wishes to be a forum for intellectual debate. The authors published in our journal come from various nationalities and university environments and include political economists, sociologists, historians, and anthropologists. Above all, they are researchers. Articles selected for publication are based on field studies. They demonstrate a detailed knowledge of local societies and particular cultures. At the same time, they give rise to controversies beyond their local framework and contribute to an understanding of the restructuring of the international order.

In the 44 issues published over the past ten years, the journal has developed several primary themes:

* The transformation of the forms of conflict. Contributions under this theme have been especially concerned with the geostrategic restructuring marked by the end of bipolarity, although they are not reducible to this restructuring. Attention is given to the reasoning of the actors and to the stakes in the diverse conflicts in a continuum which extends from declared war (between states or civilians) up to the process of peace. This theme comprises multiple issues: political stability, security issues, relationships between law and policy, or even relationships between ethics and policy. The theme constitutes the central matrix of the studies published by Cultures & Conflits. (l)

* The process of state building and its development. Within this theme, some issues of Cultures & Conflits have been more selectively devoted to the transformation of the role of states from the point of view of two phenomena: the resurgence of nationalist, regional or local claims; and the transnational alternative of cooperation between official...

To continue reading