Field of Peace

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But peace studies is not "anti-military. Peace studies education prepares students for a wide variety of careers. Graduates become researchers, educators, negotiators, mediators, government officials, businesspeople, activists, and professionals in organizations focused on human rights, dispute resolution, environmental protection, international law, and human and economic development. What is Peace Studies?

Peace studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that draws on political science, sociology, history, anthropology, theology, psychology, philosophy, and other fields to: understand the causes of armed conflict; develop ways to prevent and resolve war, genocide, terrorism, gross violations of human rights; and build peaceful and just systems and societies.

Beginnings The foundations of the field were laid in Europe in the s and '60s with the founding of several peace research institutes. The field today About colleges and universities around the world offer peace studies programs of one kind or another only a few, including the Kroc Institute, also offer graduate degrees. Sanjiv Ravi Kanbur. Karim-Aly S. Jonathan David Kirshner.

Odette Lienau. Muna Baron Ndulo. Jens D. Aziz F. Barry Stuart Strauss. In this context, the doctrinal and institutional stance taken by the United Nations in the early s proved to be structuring. This meant involving the organisation in actively fostering the peaceful resolution of these conflicts, by closely following negotiations on political agreements and by committing itself to assist in the implementation of peace processes ensuing from these agreements.

The first close contact of this discipline with the UN came precisely with the Agenda for Peace in Boutros-Ghali, 11 , whose strategies for action — preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding — stemmed from concepts formulated by Galtung in the s. The comprehensive application of these strategies virtually all over the world during the s, made it possible for Peace Studies to be included in the so-called policy-oriented mainstream.

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Starting out as theoretical assumptions, they became real social norms, accepted and reproduced by the community Santos, Beginning with the UN, its hegemony was welcomed by the scientific community, by multilateral organisations, by donor countries, and by NGOs, and was appropriated by these actors as a guide for devising peace-promoting policies. This standardisation implied the transformation of situations of near anarchy into situations of centralised, legitimate power, with actual capacity to deal with the problem of security and with the political, economic and social inadequacies experienced by the countries concerned.

In other words, the response of the international community would include, in practical terms, support to post-war re construction of the State itself peacebuilding.

Volunteer in the Field | Peace Brigades International

The model inevitably splits into four dimensions — military and security, political-constitutional, economic-social, and psychosocial — regardless of the context to which it is applied, giving shape to what Oliver Ramsbotham calls standard operating procedure. Since it is a single, generically applied model, it fails in not allowing much room for neither local singularities nor the emergence of alternative solutions that might be more appropriate for the different realities.

This criticism of standardisation is all the more incisive as we find that this model, aspiring to universal application, does not comprise multicultural experiences. Rather, it confines itself to reproducing a clear Western matrix in countries that are overwhelmingly non-Western.

Thus, this approach gave rise to a number of criticisms, ranging from the culturally insensitive behaviour displayed by troops on the ground, to the rejection of the so-called model of liberal internationalism Paris, , based on two pillars in particular: electoral democracy and the market economy. Hence, it is understandable that local agents should have a reduced role in determining the agenda for the reconstruction of their own countries.

What is Peace Studies?

There has been an unequivocal failure in amply exploring the virtues of local capabilities, insofar as the model further endorses excessive centralisation of decision-making in the United Nations itself and in small elites with prior connections to the conflict. In fact, there has been a chronic lack of attention to what might be called the base of the pyramid, which corresponds to the majority of the population. The idea of consolidating peace from below has been thwarted by the top-down, State-centred approach adopted by the United Nations, which neglects indigenous resources and agents that are crucial in building a more participatory democracy and a more inclusive and, necessarily, more sustainable peace.

Their contributions have been most useful in condemning the public discrimination to which women are subjected — with some noteworthy exceptions — in the negotiation, signing and implementation of peace agreements, resulting in their considerably limited access to the decision-making process in post-conflict situations Moura, By pre-determining an institutional framework as if it could automatically achieve the supposedly unquestionable goals of peacemaking, Peace Studies showed that it was not open to incorporate and put into practice the new creative, critical and constructive inputs from perspectives such as development theories and practices, critical social theory, cultural and gender analysis, among others.

Field of Peace

However, the s worked as a test of the veracity of the post-positivist formulation which this area of study had explored and somehow abandoned. Peace research was put at the service of a lyophilised universalisation of institutional and political models produced by Western modernity, proving it had not yet succeeded in breaking free from this domain Santos, In this sense, the experience of the post-Cold War period showed the extent to which Peace Studies fell short of what was needed to carry out the paradigmatic transition in epistemological terms, and above all in social and political terms.

The end of the Cold War, its association with neoliberalism conveyed by post-war reconstruction models imposed throughout the s, and the distancing from its original conceptual formulation, made in the s, may have prompted the decline in the discipline. The risk of instrumentalisation is thus great, facilitated to the extent that Peace Studies explicitly defines itself as a policy-oriented field of action-research.

Paul McCartney - Strawberry Fields Forever/Help!/Give Peace A Chance (1990)

In these circumstances, the intimate link between academic theory and community practice may prove to be counterproductive, as it reinforces the structural, relational and cultural contradictions that lead to conflicts. In the same way that it became increasingly obvious that proceeding with development policies that were deliberately blind to the depletion of natural resources would result in eventual catastrophe, thus too it has now become clear that the aim of building a solid peace calls for a critical distancing from all sources of violence, even and especially when these appear in the guise of instruments that normalise or reduce merely epidermic violence.

However, the challenge does not end here. There are lessons to be learnt from the way the demand for sustainability was assimilated by development policies. What was originally supposed to be a basis for radically distinct policies has become, with the concept of sustainable development — or at least with the dominant practices associated with it — a means of saving business-as-usual , lending it a slightly greener shade.

Very tangibly put, this means that setting sustainable peace as a goal of peacebuilding processes implies not only eradicating war and its immediate aftermath, but also creating conditions to prevent military violence from being replaced, in the short or long run, by steadily intensifying social violence. This type of violence is seen in exponentially rising indices of domestic violence and crime, or in the reconfiguration of relations between political forces, as well as between these and the population at large, in ways that truly clone the relations that created the conditions for and perpetuated war.

These are perhaps the two most perverse results of a mechanical application of the standard operating procedure, and of the central role that it gives to the articulation between neoliberal, low-intensity democracy and structural economic adjustment.

Sydney River park is a field of peace

What has until now been a solid conceptual formulation coming from the North, more than ever needs incorporate contributions from the South and its singularities. If Peace Studies does this, it will be able to re-invent its emancipatory character and rid itself of the social and political praxis to which it has hitherto subscribed Santos, 6. A first step in this direction is to acknowledge that war is a structural social condition of the periphery, and this necessarily entails opening up this field of studies to formulae and experiences of peace that are rooted in the selfsame territories of violence and conflict.