Reconstruction - the rebuilding of state, economy, culture and society in the wake of war - is a powerful idea, and a profoundly transformative one. From the refashioning of new landscapes in bombed-out cities and towns to the reframing of national identities to accommodate changed historical narratives, the term has become synonymous with notions of "post-conflict" society; it draws much of its rhetorical power from the neat demarcation, both spatially and temporally, between war and peace. The reality is far more complex. In this volume, reconstruction is identified as a process of conflict and of militarized power, not something that clearly demarcates a post-war period of peace. Kirsch and Flint bring together an internationally diverse range of studies by leading scholars to examine how periods of war and other forms of political violence have been justified as processes of necessary and valid reconstruction as well as the role of war in catalyzing the construction of new political institutions and destroying old regimes. Challenging the false dichotomy between war and peace, this book explores instead the ways that war and peace are mutually constituted in the creation of historically specific geographies and geographical knowledges.
'Scott Kirsch and Colin Flint, with their smart contributors, reveal the falseness of the all-too-easy dichotomies between war and peace. In doing so, they collectively help us all to be far more realistically nuanced in how we think about - and practice - the "post-war" rebuilding of trust and social fabric along with roads and bureaucracies. I learned a lot from reading Reconstructing Conflict.' Cynthia Enloe, Clark University, USA, author of Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War 'Reconstructing Conflict is a powerful examination of the violence that remains in place after the bombs have stopped falling or the guns have been silenced. What makes the book work so well is that the detailed empirical studies always have broader questions in mind while remaining faithful to the particularity of sites.' Stuart Elden, Durham University, UK