IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

The Middle East, etc…

What’s a poor blogger to do: great events that merit being discussed are happening in the Arab world and yet he doesn’t want to come across as partisan. Anyhow, here are a few important points from a peace studies point of view. I’ve mentioned John Burton previously and what is known as the human needs approach to conflict resolution.  He talks, in some of his work, about the difference between legality and legitimacy.  Legality means just that:  an action or a policy is in accord with, or at least not in violation of, an existing legal order.  Whereas, legitimacy means that the people living in a society perceive its rules and institutions as adequately (not perfectly, of course) addressing their individual and collective needs.

The article linked to above  suggests the following list of needs

* Safety/Security — the need for structure, predictability, stability, and freedom from fear and anxiety.
* Belongingness/Love — the need to be accepted by others and to have strong personal ties with one’s family, friends, and identity groups.
* Self-esteem — the need to be recognized by oneself and others as strong, competent, and capable. It also includes the need to know that one has some effect on her/his environment.
* Personal fulfillment — the need to reach one’s potential in all areas of life.
* Identity — goes beyond a psychological “sense of self.” Burton and other human needs theorists define identity as a sense of self in relation to the outside world. Identity becomes a problem when one’s identity is not recognized as legitimate, or when it is considered inferior or is threatened by others with different identifications.
* Cultural security — is related to identity, the need for recognition of one’s language, traditions, religion, cultural values, ideas, and concepts.
* Freedom — is the condition of having no physical, political, or civil restraints; having the capacity to exercise choice in all aspects of one’s life.
* Distributive justice — is the need for the fair allocation of resources among all members of a community.
* Participation — is the need to be able to actively partake in and influence civil society.

The current events also confirm another of Burton’s arguments.  Quite some time ago he concluded from his human needs analysis, that a regime would not be able to maintain itself indefinitely if it did not adequately provide for the fulfillment of the needs of the majority of the population.

Of course, at this stage one cannot say where if at all regimes perceived to be more legitimate will ultimately appear.  We will simply have to wait and see.


February 26, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] few days ago a wrote a short post about the Middle East and mentioning John Burton.  Well, shortly thereafter I wrote a somewhat longer article on the same subject, and I thought I […]

    Pingback by More on Burton and the Middle East « IG’s Peace Blog | March 7, 2011 | Reply

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