Building Sustainable Peace and Compassionate Community

Kevin P. Clements

in The Oxford Handbook of Intergroup Conflict

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747672
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Building Sustainable Peace and Compassionate Community

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This chapter argues that sustainable peace is most likely in stable, cooperative, and compassionate communities that place a higher value on trust, equality, and welfare than safety and security. While states and multilateral organizations have a significant role to play in generating the conditions for stable peace, they will only be successful if they focus most attention on issues of justice, welfare, and positive incentives for social cohesion. If they concentrate on security and safety at the expense of these other factors, they will not be helpful players in the quest for sustainable peace. It is a central argument of this chapter, therefore, that more analytic and political attention should be directed to understanding interpersonal “bottom-up” strategies for peace and how these connect to the “top-down” long-term structural prevention of violence. This chapter argues that sustainable peace is most likely to flow from a deeper attention to relational ethics and egalitarian community building than imposed macro-level development initiatives. This is a challenge to many standard approaches to development and peacebuilding, which promote strong coercive, deterrent capacities and didactic top-down development.

Keywords: Positive and negative peace; peacebuilding; community; equality; welfare; Levinas; responsibility; cultures of peace; nonviolence; conflict sensitive development; justice

Article.  10699 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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