Contemporary Peace Movements: Between the Hammer of Political Realism and the Anvil of Pacifism

Tamar Hermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper suggests that the viability and accomplishments of social movements depend mainly on the levels of congruence between their ideological features, practical aspirations, and operative context. The impact of this complex linkage between internal and external imperatives is well demonstrated by the dramatic improvement of the mobilization capabilities of contemporary peace movements and the relatively high political visibility which they have gained following their rational replacement of absolute pacifism with pragmatic pacifism. The latter has become quite popular and visible in the past two decades as it seems to mitigate successfully the historic clash between total war rejection and the dominant Political Realist ethos. Yet, it also appears that this modification is highly problematic, as in the long run it accounts for many of the acute difficulties of the peace movements in establishing a coherent worldview and hence in maintaining internal unity, extensive public support and continuous activity.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)869-893
Number of pages25
JournalWestern Political Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


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