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Peacemaking


Peacemaking is practical conflict transformation focused upon establishing equitable power relationships robust enough to forestall future conflict, often including the establishment of means of agreeing on ethical decisions within a community, or among parties, that had previously engaged in inappropriate (i.e. violent) responses to conflict. Peacemaking seeks to achieve full reconciliation among adversaries and new mutual understanding among parties and stakeholders. When applied in criminal justice matters, peacemaking is usually called restorative justice, but sometimes also transformative justice, a term coined by the late Canadian justice theorist and activist Ruth Morris. One popular example of peacemaking is the several types of mediation, usually between two parties and involving a third, a facilitator or mediator.

Some geopolitical entities, such as nation-states and international organizations, attempt to relegate the term peacemaking to large, systemic, often factional conflicts in which no member of the community can avoid involvement, and in which no faction or segment can claim to be completely innocent of the problems, citing as instances post-genocide situations, or extreme situations of oppression such as apartheid. However peacemaking is a universal and age-old approach to conflict at all levels and among any and all parties, and its principles may be generalized and used in many different kinds of conflicts.

The process of peacemaking is distinct from the rationale of pacifism or the use of non-violent protest or civil disobedience techniques, though they are often practiced by the same people. Indeed, those who master using nonviolent techniques under extreme violent pressure, and those who lead others in such resistance, have usually demonstrated the capacity not to react to violent provocation in kind, and thus may be more highly skilled at working with groups of people that may have suffered through violence and oppression, keeping them coordinated and in good order through the necessary, often difficult phases of rapprochement.



  • Pankhurst, Alula and Ivo Strecker. 2003. Bury the Spear. Mainz University project on Cultural Contact, Respect and Self-Esteem. Special mention at the Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Paris, March 2004.
  • Pankhurst, Alula. 2002. Calling Peace and Cursing War. Video film in co-production with Lubo Film. [about a peace ceremony in southern Ethiopia bringing together 12 groups seeking to resolve conflict]
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Wikipedia

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