Conflict and peace-making have fundamentally shaped and remade boundaries and relationships in the world we live in. These transformations include processes of inclusion and exclusion that accompany conflicts and the efforts to resolve, transform or secure them. Inclusion is commonly associated with peace rather than conflict, but violent means are often justified in inclusive or productive terms: the renewal of a unified people, the protection of a national economy, or the toppling of an old regime to make way for a more inclusive future. Whether it is peace-making, conflict or securitisation: boundaries, borders and relationships are frequently reified, contested or hardened through these processes. In this sense, both conflict and peace are interrelated ordering principles at the heart of which lie questions about inclusion and exclusion, relation and disconnection. As some are drawn into the centre of a violent cause, others might be ostracized, targeted or displaced as inevitable Others. Similarly, approaches to peace-making and conflict transformation – often seeking to be inclusive – might lead to unintended exclusive consequences: political settlements negotiated by elites can exclude the voices of marginal groups, or override calls for historical justice; and as peace-making tends to involve power struggles, its outcomes can lead to new grievances and renewed conflict.
In particular, security and forms of securitisation, as part of major ordering mechanisms, play a key role here. In the name of security, freedom is protected, borders are militarised and interventions justified, often in ahistorical, depoliticised ways. Metaphorically speaking, the boundaries between unpredictable outsiders and to-be-protected insiders must be guarded and reaffirmed: between nations and globalised flows of people, between security compounds and war-zones, between citizens and non-citizens and between the rich and poor. Questions about inclusion/exclusion are central to our understanding about how dynamics of peace, conflict and security interrelate. Moreover, these dynamics have an often suppressed and distorted temporal and historical dimension, as some histories are ignored and others are shaped, while long-term processes of inclusion and exclusion can become buried underneath the spectacular buzz and noise of immediate crises that claim moments of unprecedented truths.