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Article

The Truth of Fiction: Literature as a Source of Insight into Social Conflict and Its Resolution

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 2 2016
Keywords literary approaches to conflict resolution, narrative theory, mass movements, social transformation, social injustice
Authors Angelica R. Martinez and Richard E. Rubenstein
AbstractAuthor's information

    The study of literature, although relatively new to the field of peace and conflict studies, has proven to be a valuable way to develop our understanding of violent social conflicts and the possible methods of resolving or transforming them. Literary texts present students of human conflict and conflict resolution with an appreciation of the power of “thick” descriptions of the human experience and the problems with “thin” modes of expression. Narrative and literary works reveal the indelible marks that violence and conflict inscribe on those left in their wake. Examining conflict through literature also grants students access to the ethical and moral dilemmas that people face as they navigate complex and oppressive social systems. A graduate-level course in “Conflict and Literature” taught for the past ten years at George Mason University provides evidence of these uses and suggests the possibility of further pedagogical developments.


Angelica R. Martinez
Angelica R. Martinez is a PhD candidate at George Mason University and the Branch Chief of Policy and Assessment for NATO’s Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey. She taught in the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point).

Richard E. Rubenstein
Richard E. Rubenstein is University Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. His most recent book is Resolving Structural Conflicts: How Violent Systems Can Be Transformed (2017).

    This article demonstrates how international policy frameworks provide space for iterative engagement between peacebuilding scholars and practitioners. I focus on United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, which prioritized gender mainstreaming in all stages of peacebuilding. This analysis is based on a review of documents and literature that trace the trajectory of UNSCR 1325 from a variety of perspectives, and informal field interviews with practitioners working at the nexus of gender and peacebuilding. UNSCR 1325 was the product of practitioners who felt that gender was central to peace and security in practice and supported their views with theory. The process of drafting and implementing UNSCR 1325 simultaneously legitimized practitioner projects to incorporate women in peacebuilding and narrowed their scope, prompting critique and research from scholars and scholar-practitioners. The ensuing debates reveal how international policy frameworks can provide a space for iterative and productive discourse between scholars and practitioners by reaffirming shared normative objectives and making the contributions and limitations of both theory and practice visible. Scholar-practitioners can expand the frequency, quality and impact of interactions in this space by acting as intermediaries who circulate between and bridge the worlds of scholarship, policy and practice.


Danielle Fulmer
Danielle Fulmer is a former PhD student in the joint programme in Sociology and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include local–global collaborations to transform gender norms and the role of intermediary actors in grassroots social movements.
Article

Indigenous Cultural Resources for Peacebuilding

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s Philosophy and Conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 2 2015
Keywords Islam, Khudai Khidmatghar, Taliban, Pakhtuns, liberal peacebuilding
Authors Saira Bano Orakzai
AbstractAuthor's information

    Indigenous peacebuilding has introduced numerous challenges to the approach of liberal peacebuilding that is well advocated around the world. The conflict in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan presents one such challenge for the local peacebuilders – whereas the implementation of the liberal peacebuilding has failed. Adopting a subaltern perspective, this article examines indigenous cultural peacebuilding resources for this conflict. Prominent among these resources is the philosophy of non-violence and self-restraint of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his Khudai Khidmatgar non-violent movement. The article discusses Khan’s philosophy and the movement it inspired, while making a case for the value of such indigenous resources in the development of culturally appropriate responses for countering militancy and violence in FATA. The article uses the writings of Ghaffar Khan together with secondary resources to suggest measures to counter the contemporary violent extremism by the Taliban and draw upon indigenous approaches to make peacebuilding more effective in FATA.


Saira Bano Orakzai
Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, University of Free State, South Africa.
Article

Hybrid Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties

The Impact of the International Fund for Ireland and the European Union’s Peace III Fund

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 2 2015
Keywords Northern Ireland, economic aid, elicitive approach, liberal peace, grass-roots everyday peacemakers
Authors Julie Hyde and Sean Byrne
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article draws upon a wide qualitative study of the experiences and perceptions held by 107 community group leaders and 13 funding agency development officers within the liminal context of Northern Ireland and the Border Counties. These organizations received funding from the European Union’s Peace III Program and/or the International Fund for Ireland. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key figures in these groups and agencies during the summer of 2010. This data is explored in relation to the concept of hybrid peacebuilding so as to better identify and articulate the potentialities and challenges associated with grass-roots macro-level interactions. The empirical findings indicate the necessity of flexibility in empowering local decision makers in a hybridized peacebuilding process. Local people should be involved with the funders and the governments in constructing and in implementing these processes. The theoretical findings are consistent with previous research that favors elicitive and local rather than top-down bureaucratic and technocratic processes. More attention needs to be paid to how local people see conflict and how they build peace. The prescriptive/practical implications are that policymakers must include the grass roots in devising and implementing peacebuilding; the grass roots need to ensure their local practices and knowledge are included; and external funders must include local people’s needs and visions in more heterogeneous hybrid peacebuilding approaches. The article is original, providing grass-roots evidence of the need to develop the hybrid peacebuilding model.


Julie Hyde
Julie Hyde is a Ph.D. Candidate in peace and conflict studies at the University of Manitoba. Her research focuses on critical approaches to peacebuilding, peace education, and indigenous/non-indigenous relationships.

Sean Byrne
Sean Byrne is professor of peace and conflict studies and director of the Arthur V Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice, St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba. He has published extensively in the area of critical and emancipatory peace building. He was a consultant to the special advisor to the Irish Taoiseach on arms decommissioning. He is a consultant on the Northern Ireland peace process to the senior advisor for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee. His research was funded by SSHRC and the USIP.
Article

Non-Violent Struggle

The 1992 Kenyan Case Study of the Protective Power and the Curse of Female Nakedness

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2015
Keywords non-violent struggle, dynamics of non-violent struggle, strategic planning in non-violent struggle, protective power of the vulva, curse of female nakedness
Authors Dr. Peter Karari
AbstractAuthor's information

    Non-violent struggle is a technique by which the population can restrict and sever the sources of power of their oppressors while mobilizing their own potentials into effective power. Female nakedness is one type of non-violent action that can be mobilized to facilitate women’s emancipation from gendered-cum-patriarchal oppression, violence and marginalization. A literature review indicates that female nakedness has been used for many centuries around the world to stop wars, ward off enemies, agitate for rights, prevent pests and increase harvests. Studies show that the effectiveness of non-violent struggle requires strategic planning and understanding of the dynamics involved. This article analyses the 1992 women’s nude protest in Kenya aimed at pushing for the release of political prisoners. This study investigates three questions: (1) In what ways was the 1992 women’s nude protest in Kenya a success? (2) What were the struggle’s flaws? (3) What strategic plans and/or dynamics of non-violent struggle could have been employed to make this protest more effective? The findings of this research indicate that: (1) The nude protest was partially a success because it secured the release of all political prisoners and nurtured democratization; (2) the struggle failed to embrace some strategic planning and/or the dynamics of non-violent struggle in addition to hunger strike and female nakedness; and (3) the protest could have been more successful if it embraced particular strategic plans and/or dynamics of non-violent struggle such as negotiation, power relations, prioritization of tactics and methods of non-violent struggle, access to critical material resources and clear monitoring and evaluation strategies.


Dr. Peter Karari
Dr. Peter Karari will be joining Karatina University, Kenya in September 2015 as a faculty member in the school of education and social sciences where he plans to start a department in Peace and Conflict Studies. He is a PhD graduate in peace and conflict studies from the Arthur Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice, University of Manitoba. He also has a Bachelor in Social-Work from the University of Nairobi in Kenya and a Masters in Peace and Conflicts Research from Otto-von Guericke University in Magdeburg Germany. His areas of focus includes; ethnopolitical violence, transitional justice, peacebuilding, conflict-management, conflict-resolution, conflict-transformation, and human rights. His doctoral research was on ethno-political violence, transitional justice, and peacebuilding in Kenya. He has diverse field and work experience with Non-governmental and community based organizations. He was the Country Program Manager of Drug Abuse Education Program Kenya, Project Coordinator Compassion International Kenya, and Chief Executive Officer Kibera Slum Education Program, an Oxfam GB assisted project in Kenya. Peter has served in various capacities as a student leader, community leader, and as a member of the University of Manitoba senate. He has a great passion for the marginalized and the vulnerable people in the society and has greatly been recognized for his community leadership and human rights activism. He is the winner of the 2010 Nahlah Ayed Prize for Student Leadership and Global Citizenship, University of Manitoba; 2010 Paul Fortier Award in Student Activism, University of Manitoba Faculty Association; 2011 University of Manitoba Alumni Award; 2012 University of Manitoba Dean of Graduate Studies Student Achievement Award; and 2014 University of Manitoba Emerging Leaders Award. Apart from mentoring his students to explore new perspectives and ideas that address their inquisitiveness as human beings, Dr. Karari envisions to actively participate in peacebuilding initiatives to make the world a better place for all to live in. He envisions Perpetual Peace in the World!
Article

Process Pluralism in Transitional-Restorative Justice

Lessons from Dispute Resolution for Cultural Variations in Goals beyond Rule of Law and Democracy Development (Argentina and Chile)

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2015
Keywords transitional justice, conflict resolution, process pluralism, cultural variation, individual and collective justice
Authors Carrie Menkel-Meadow
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article reviews some of the key issues in transitional justice process and institutional design, based on my research and experience working and living in several post-conflict societies, and suggests that cultural and political variations in transitional justice design, practices, and processes are necessary to accomplish plural goals. The idea of process pluralism, derived from the more general fields of conflict resolution and ‘alternative dispute resolution’ in legal contexts, is an essential part of transitional justice, where multiple processes may occur simultaneously or in sequence over time (e.g. truth and reconciliation processes, with or without amnesty, prosecutions, lustration and/or more local legal and communitarian processes), depending on both individual and collective preferences and resources. Transitional justice is itself ‘in transition’ as iterative learning has developed from assessment of different processes in different contexts (post-military dictatorships, civil wars, and international and sub-national conflicts). This article draws on examples from Argentina’s and Chile’s emergence from post-military dictatorships to describe and analyze a plurality of processes, including more formal governmental processes, but also those formed by civil society groups at sub-national levels. This article suggests that ‘democracy development’ and legalistic ‘rule of law’ goals and institutional design may not necessarily be the only desiderata in transitional justice, where more than the ‘legal’ and ‘governmental’ is at stake for more peaceful human flourishing. To use an important concept from dispute resolution, the “forum must fit the fuss”, and there are many different kinds of ‘fusses’ to be dealt with in transitional justice, at different levels of society – more than legal and governmental but also social, cultural and reparative.


Carrie Menkel-Meadow
Carrie Menkel-Meadow is Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California, Irvine.
Article

The Historical Contingencies of Conflict Resolution

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2013
Keywords History of ADR, consensus building, multi-party dispute resolution, theory development, conflict handling
Authors Carrie Menkel-Meadow
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article reviews the historical contingency of theory and practice in conflict engagement. World War II and the Cold War produced adversarial, distributive, competitive, and scarce resources conceptions of negotiation and conflict resolution, as evidenced by game theory and negotiation practice. More recent and more optimistic theory and practice has focused on party needs and interests and hopes for more party-tailored, contingent, flexible, participatory and more integrative and creative solutions for more than two disputants to a conflict. The current challenges of our present history are explored: continued conflict in both domestic and international settings, the challenge of “scaling up” conflict resolution theory and the problematics of developing universal theory in highly contextualized and diverse sets of conflict sites. The limits of “rationality” in conflict resolution is explored where feelings and ethical, religious and other values may be just as important in conflict engagement and handling.


Carrie Menkel-Meadow
Chancellor’s Professor of Law, University of California Irvine Law School and A.B. Chettle Jr. Professor of Dispute Resolution and Civil Procedure, Georgetown University Law Center.
Article

Crises and Opportunities:

Six Contemporary Challenges for Increasing Probabilities for Sustainable Peace

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2013
Keywords Conflict resolution, peace, evidence-based practice, gender, systems
Authors Peter T. Coleman
AbstractAuthor's information

    The news from the field of peace and conflict studies is mixed. It is evident that the increasing complexity, interdependence and technological sophistication of conflict, violence and war today introduce many new challenges to peace-keeping, making and building. However, it is also likely that these trends present new opportunities for fostering and sustaining peace. If our field is to capitalize on such prospects, it will need to more effectively understand and address several basic dilemmas inherent to how we approach our work. This paper outlines six contemporary challenges, and suggests some options for addressing them.


Peter T. Coleman
Director of International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution and Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College and The Earth Institute at Columbia University.
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