IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Asking some important questions

Check out this blog post about “Reflections on what Peace Studies ought to be”,  on the University of Bradford (UK) Peace Studies Forum.

Here’s a “teaser”:

“Since March, a group of students in the Peace Studies department (Uni. Of Bradford) has been meeting to discuss issues around peace research methodology, if indeed there is such a thing. We found ourselves grappling with a very wide range of issues but a question that keeps coming up is: What is Peace? How do we define it? We must acknowledge that there has been a range of definitions, often contradictory, throughout history. So can we ever agree on a definition? I don’t know. And the words of Andrew Murray in his introduction to the special issue of Peace Review on the future of Peace Studies seem to go with this idea too. He writes conversations and debates amongst peace researchers tend to come to the same conclusion, “that in the context of Peace Studies it is not possible to articulate a focus or to identify a methodology beyond the generic ‘to make a better world by whatever method or methodology is appropriate.’” (Murray, 2002)”

As an “academic”  I understand the issues with which they are grappling.  They sort of boil down to something like “do we really have a ‘field of study’ here or not?”.  That is a problem for life in a university (I didn’t say ivory tower, because I’m not sure the ivory tower is very present these days when all departments usually have to justify their existence in terms of revenue generated, but that is a different issue).  Still, from where I’m sitting as the author of this blog, making “..a better world by whatever method or methodology…appropriate” sounds pretty good 🙂 .  In fact, if we could get more people to adopt that methodology we’d be well on our way to peace perhaps.

This may or may not be the Bradford Campus 🙂


August 9, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. While I do agree that any method that leads to a better world should be followed and acceptable within peace studies, I also think there is a danger that what some people do in the name of peace others find to be the source of just the opposite. For example the removal of the Tukudika, or Sheep Eaters, from Yellowstone National Park in the US to ensure white settlers that the park was a safe and peaceful place to visit. Similar stories continue around the world.

    While that might be a more extreme example of different definitions of peace. What I want to highlight is that even if we agree that multiple definitions are acceptable and indeed wanted within peace studies – we still need to constantly have the conversations and debates about those menaings, limits and why we choose certain methodologies or we might be surprised to find that type of peace we’ve ended up with isn’t what we had envisioned afterall.

    One another note. I’m afraid the picture is not of the University of Bradford – but we can pretend that is what we would see beyond all the construction. 🙂

    Comment by larenda | August 11, 2010 | Reply

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