The fundamentals of sustainable peace: Modeling the necessary and sufficient conditions and processes for sustainable peace in communitiesOverview: Decades of research has taught us a great deal about conflict, conflict escalation, stalemate and de-escalation. However, in contrast to the abundant research on conflict, relatively little research has focused directly on sustainable peace. There is often a basic assumption in conflict studies that a thorough understanding of the problem of destructive conflict will, by default, provide insight into conditions and processes which foster and sustain peace. This assumption, however, has been found by researchers to be erroneous (see Gottman, Murray, Swanson, Tyson, Swanson, 2002; Losada, 1999; Losada & Heaphy, 2004). Although the lessening of openly destructive or violent conflict is likely a necessary condition for peace, there is no reason to believe it is a sufficient condition. In fact, psychological research on positive and negative evaluative processes and attributions have shown that, at times, positive processes (like peace) and negative processes (like conflict) function somewhat independently (Cacioppo & Berntson, 1994; Cacioppo, Gardner, & Berntson, 1997; Deutsch, 1973; Gottman, et. al, 2002; Rudolph, Roesch, Greitemeyer, and Weiner, 2004), and may involve very different parameters, temporal scales, weighting, and dynamics.
Our first initiatives in this area will involve qualitative work with expert practitioners working with effective peace initiatives. This includes interviews and a working meeting. We plan to convene a session entitled: The Fundamentals of Sustainable Peace: A Practice-to-Theory Dialogue on Effective Systemic Peace Initiatives. We will bring together a small group of skilled practitioners who will each: 1) send out a short brief of an "effective" case that they have worked on (before the gathering) and then 2) make a presentation of their case at the meeting, with an emphasis on their sense of the necessary and/or sufficient conditions and processes at the core of such effective initiatives. Our Dynamical-Systems Team will be present (PhD students, etc.) for this 2-3 day meeting where the cases are presented and digested and then the basic theoretical insights are somehow summarized during the last day - with room for reaction and feedback from the practitioners. This will be grounded-theory development - with an emphasis on peace (fostering positive attractors), and an aim towards identifying the basic parameters for a dynamical-minimal model of peace.
Publications from this project
Tuesday, January 18, 2000
Vallacher, R., Coleman, P. T., & Nowak. A. (forthcoming). Dynamical systems theory: Applications to peace and conflict. In D. Christie and C. Montiel (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Peace Psychology. Wiley-Blackwell.
Tuesday, January 18, 2000
Deutsch, M., & Coleman, P. T. (forthcoming). The psychological components of sustainable peace: An introduction. In P. T. Coleman, M. and Deutsch (Eds.), Psychology's Contributions to Sustainable Peace. Springer.