Words of Conflict, Words of War
How the Language We Use in Political Processes Sparks Fighting
by Fathali Moghaddam and Rom Harré, Editors
May 2010, 220pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-37676-4
$95, £74, 83€, A131
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-0-313-37677-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

At the heart of all conflict is language. From top officials involved in international political affairs to those of us involved in the politics of everyday life, everyone chooses and uses words to position themselves or their beliefs as correct and worthy of support—sometimes with the unintended result of spurring or escalating conflict.

This highly insightful and cohesive group of studies reveals the power of political narratives to create conflict and peace.

Words of Conflict, Words of War: How the Language We Use in Political Processes Sparks Fighting is a fascinating exploration of the narratives leaders use to position both themselves and others in the course of political processes that lead to peace or conflict. Drawing on the relatively new field of “positioning theory,” expert essays provide insights into the ways words position us—for better or worse—and influence our intended results. The focus on narratives, from the interpersonal to the international, leads to a better understanding of political processes and conflict resolution.

Part one of the study deals with micropolitics and personal positioning. Part two explores positioning by political parties and factions. Links between micro and macro are illustrated by leadership studies of individuals such as President Barak Obama, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President George W. Bush, Governor Sarah Palin, and the Reverend Ian Paisley. The focus throughout is on how a leader can use language to redirect collective politics in support of conflict or of peace.


  • Includes contributions from 19 scholars, offering an international perspective on positioning
  • Provides detailed case studies
  • Presents six tables and four figures
  • Offers an extensive reference list at the end of each chapter
Fathali M. Moghaddam is professor in the Department of Psychology and director of the Conflict Resolution Program, Department of Government, at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. His published works include Multiculturalism and Intergroup Relations: Psychological Implications for Democracy in Global Context and Praeger's The New Global Insecurity: How Terrorism, Environmental Collapse, Economic Inequalities, and Resource Shortages are Changing Our World.

Rom Harré is a fellow of Linacre College, Oxford University, and distinguished research professor, Georgetown University, Washington, DC. He has been a visiting professor at numerous universities around the world and has published seminal works in a number of fields, including psychology. His most recent book is Pavlov's Dogs and Schrodinger's Cat: Tales from the Living Laboratory.


"... Recommended for libraries supporting coursework in social psychology or rhetoric."—Catholic Library World, June 1, 2011
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.