Peace and Conflict Studies


Peace and conflict studies suggests engaging in the research and investigation of so-called peace and conflict, but does not the question of how that is possible or even remotely beneficial arise? The study of peace and conflict is a multidisciplinary endeavor that looks at the root causes and the resolving factors of war.

History of Peace Studies

Looking back, experts in peaceful conflict studies analyse past events like wars and negotiations to learn more about the development of conflict and peace. Past wars could be examined for their root causes, outcomes, resolution tactics, and any lessons that could be applied to current and future peace-building efforts. This historical context helps us make sense of contemporary and future conflicts and can guide the growth of novel theoretical frameworks.

Take a trip back 50 years to the 1950s, and we will find that the word "peace" was widely used in jest as just a communist propaganda word, encouraging people to relax their guard against the "Red Menace." Furthermore, the word "peace" was seen to be a communist buzzword in the eastern regions of the Occident as well.

The trump card is played by "peace-loving peoples and nations" everywhere. To some part riding on the coattails of its close relative "conflict studies," the field of "peace studies" is gaining clout in academia today; the name is typically combined with less contentious ones like "justice" or "security studies" to avoid negative connotations. In no time, hyphens will no longer be a source of contention in any classroom. Some people worldwide may be following the lead of prominent Anglo-American academics who condone murder in the name of "security studies."

One area for improvement beyond social sciences is the similarity between security studies and health studies, which may be applied to individuals and entire populations. First, glancing at the course offerings anywhere at a medical or health promotion institution will show that health studies are highly interdisciplinary. We will also find examples of inter-disciplinarily and contacts with more traditional academic fields (including psychology, philosophy, and foreign diplomacy). However, the field of health studies goes beyond interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary approaches.

Furthermore, it spans national boundaries. A doctor would not identify with a particular culture or geographic region in an ideal world. In addition to the fact that he can work as a doctor practically anywhere, the importance of his work in this field is more significant than any sense of national pride. When he took the Hippocratic Oath, he swore to treat everyone, friend or foe, equally.

Peace Research

Although most of the literature does not distinguish between peace research, peace studies, and peace education, it is helpful to distinguish between these related but distinct topics. By distinguishing between peace research and peace studies, we can understand how and why they are connected in time and related issues. Peace research is concerned with the development, accumulation, and discovery of knowledge about the causes of war and the state of peace; peace education is concerned with the development of processes of education in and about peace; and peace studies is concerned with the substantive issues concerning the purposes and problems associated with the dissemination of knowledge of peace as a process.

Nevertheless, one additional point should be made before moving on to serious matters. For many individuals, the differences mentioned above are arbitrary and unneeded. The names are frequently used interchangeably. Nevertheless, it is critical to recognize that advances in peace research must unavoidably precede discussion and growth of peace studies.

Peace research began to emerge in the mid-1950s and early 1960s, when there was an increase in the academic study of peace and a push to professionalize the peace movement. The Repertory of Disarmament and Peace Research Institutions lists nearly a hundred institutions in twenty countries as being active in the field, and two scientific quarterlies, the Journal of Conflict Resolution (edited at the University of Michigan's Centre for Conflict Resolution) and the Journal of Peace Research (edited at the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo), are devoted to research in this interdisciplinary field.

After nearly 20 years of peace study, the possibilities for peace studies secured a position on the agenda of discourse by the early 1970s. The following level could now be handled because research had become possible. In reality, these early attempts had to be reluctant and careful, not least since the question of peace has been a source of considerable controversy. For example, the International Council for Curriculum and Instruction conducted its First World Congress in September 1974 at the University of Keele in the United Kingdom. The proceedings were published as Education for Peace: Reflection and Action in 1975. The editor begins the book by saying that many readers will be intrigued by the contents of a book with such a title.

Furthermore, they have the right to be because the label indicates schooling for something that might entail various conflicting things depending on who defines it. The comment was both cautious and foresighted for its day because it underlined the potential for disagreement and uncertainty surrounding peace studies, both then and now. The dimensions of education for peace, peace education in connection to the world, and reports on action initiatives were all discussed during the Keele Conference.

Domains of Peace & Conflict Studies

Peace and conflict studies is an interdisciplinary area of studies and it draws attention on political theory, sociology, psychiatry, economics, and other fields to deconstruct the intricate interplay between war and peace.

Future Directions

Researchers in peace and conflict studies constantly look for emerging questions, problems, and possibilities. Their main priorities include conflict analysis, forecasting, and research into alternative strategies for fostering peace. New types of warfare, including cyber warfare, may be investigated, as could the role of technology in resolving conflicts and the importance of civil society in fostering stability.

Transcendental paradigms without inherent bias on either side of a subduction zone are what peace research needs to develop. Understanding the phenomenon of genocide, which is part of a larger category of mass slaughter, is a crucial part of the field of peace studies.

One standard method of this kind of homicide is the killing of females, both prenatally and postnatally. Another is passing away due to famine or sickness that may have been avoided or treated. Avoidable diseases are the primary subject of health studies, including pandemics; avoidable violence(s), especially mass casualties, are the primary focus of peace studies. There has to be a lot more research done in these areas on the concept of "positive health" and "positive peace," not just as methods for reducing the prevalence of illness and conflict but also as roadmaps to greater individual flourishing.

Studies of peace that span disciplines and divides could soon become the norm. When it comes to transferring colonists and military outposts to the lands of others, notably in the Middle East, peace studies are not the ready subject of upper-class, white, elderly male, patriotic, and generally Anglophone countries. Worries are warranted for several reasons. Studies of peace and the concept of "security through peace" would be of greater use to the world's peoples of the world, including those that speak English, than the current emphasis on "security and strategic studies," which has contributed to a heightened sense of unease around the world.

Professionalism is on the horizon, and with it comes the risk of insularity that comes with a focus on the world at large. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a peace studies discipline that is autonomous, critical, and liberator and can examine and evaluate the praxeology developing from within its ranks.

Over the next few decades, peace studies or peace studies will face even more obstacles. There will always be forces working against those who exert themselves, so anyone who tries to bring about change in one area (such as peace researchers who use their research to explore as well as achieve harmony and who seek so many ways to turn theory into practice) should not be amazed if other forces appear to work in opposition. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

As a result, some fields of study may attempt to exclude, suppress, and co-opt peace studies. People who believe that "the problem of peace is primarily a psychological problem" and that Peace Psychology courses are unnecessary, and similar sentiments may persist in their assertion that peace studies are unnecessary. If this action leads to more students and instructors learning or making peace, and if it is coupled with a respect for a wider practical and theoretical viewpoint – a view of the forest rather than just a tree or two – then it is to be applauded.

Conclusion

There will always be a demand for additional peace studies, but there will also be a place for the theory and research required to assist peace workers in generating more lasting and beneficial peace. One of the peace movement's most significant obstacles is reconciling its ideals' morality with the realism of foreign policy.

Updated on: 13-Mar-2023

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