Conflict transformation – towards a theoretical framework
in Transforming conflict through social and economic development
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This chapter provides some conceptual tools for thinking about/framing conflict transformation through social and economic development. It presents a theoretical exploration of conflict transformation by firstly examining its place within the conflict management discourse and the conflict cycle. A number of existing definitions are then explored, highlighting its distinctiveness. Particular attention is given to the key theoretical contributions of Johan Galtung and John Paul Lederach. Lederach’s work is particularly useful when considering why it is so difficult to sustain peace in the long-term and ultimately transform conflict situations. He argues that there are several key gaps responsible for this inability to build and sustain peace initiatives, the most important being interdependence, justice and process-structures. Lastly the wider related areas of citizen empowerment, development aid and economic development are explored. This exploration, in providing an understanding of the key characteristics of conflict transformation, assists in shaping the formation of a theoretical framework consisting of a working definition and five hypotheses against which the impacts of the three programmes will later be assessed and implications highlighted. These five hypotheses are issues that need to be addressed by societies emerging from conflict if effective conflict transformation is to take place.

Transforming conflict through social and economic development

Practice and policy lessons from Northern Ireland and the Border Counties

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