Individual Paper: Imposed Solutions Versus Local Ownership Transformation in Intercommunal Conflict
Intercommunal conflict is an endemic phenomenon in international reality. Peace is often claimed to be connected to growth, either as western democratic evolution, or as liberal economic progress. At the same time conflict is often asserted to originate from the inherent drive of individuals or groups to dominate. Past experience shows that different approaches have not managed to lead to viable solutions to intercommunal conflict. Conflict Management, although it assumes that conflict is a long-term process that requires time to be resolved, is often accused of objectifying groups as something to be controlled or driven. Conflict resolution implies that conflict is a phenomenon that requires resolving, neglecting processes of conflict saturation and maturation. In addition, involvement of external actors leads to controversial results. Western-centred interventions often prove to be ineffective and create disdain for terms such as reconciliation and democracy-building among local populations. This presentation argues that coercive solutions, using or implying growth for the achievement of peace, are inadequate in intercommunal conflict since they cannot build long-term, mutually acceptable and sustainable peace. In addition, theories that accentuate the inherent tendency of individuals or groups towards antagonism lead to unsustainable solutions as they presuppose that there is a natural antagonism to be canalised to non-violent directions such as economic competition. Instead, conflict transformation processes, focusing on both awareness and de-escalation and showing respect to cultural particularities and societal ownership of solutions, could be a more effective way towards peace. Focusing on the process and not the outcome of a conflict and on the establishment of contact and peace education owned by the parties may lead to lasting solutions.
Start time: 11:15
Room: ABF (209)
Track: War and Peace