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The Terrain of War: How Using the Word “Mountain” Biases Conflict Research

Cooperation for a Peaceful and Sustainable World Part 1

ISBN: 978-1-78190-335-3, eISBN: 978-1-78190-336-0

ISSN: 1572-8323

Publication date: 12 December 2012

Abstract

The broad aim of this paper is to look at the relationship between terrain and conflict. Using the opportunity and willingness framework, it argues that there are some long established physical factors, which have been related to the terrain of conflict, but that there are also some equally long established factors that are nonphysical. This latter group includes the notion of a “mountain people,” which is described as being fierce, uncivilized, and resistant to authority. Such arguments may have some foundation, but they are also based on a strong history of determinism and indeed scientific racism. The paper also looks at the “what is a mountain?” debate and argues that this question is entirely misleading for conflict analysis. It is hoped that conflict researchers will be careful whenever they encounter the word “mountain.”

Citation

Pickering, S. (2012), "The Terrain of War: How Using the Word “Mountain” Biases Conflict Research", Bo, C., Chatterji, M. and Chaoyan, H. (Ed.) Cooperation for a Peaceful and Sustainable World Part 1 (Contributions to Conflict Management, Peace Economics and Development, Vol. 20 Part 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 217-241. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1572-8323(2012)0000020012

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited