Promoting Conflict or Peace through Identity
Promoting Conflict or Peace through Identity by Nikki Slocum-Bradley
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While many regional integration projects have been founded upon the ideal to prevent wars, integration has both contributed to, and has been inhibited by, identity-based conflicts. Regional integration highlights the constructed nature of identities, as the changing nature of borders puts into question traditional conceptions of identity. Who is identified as a ‘migrant’ changes depending upon how ‘locals’ are defined, and in the context of processes of regional integration this is continuously in flux. Attempts to redefine the ‘we’ encounter fears of identity loss.
In pursuing the UNU-CRIS mandate, it is important to include the often neglected social-psychological aspects of regional integration. In other words, an understanding of the people who do – or do not – integrate is essential to true comprehension of broader social and political processes. One strand of UNU-CRIS research has been dedicated to understanding the nature of identity constructions and their role in conflict, peace and processes of regional integration. Promoting Conflict or Peace through Identity, edited by UNU-CRIS Research Fellow Dr. Nikki Slocum-Bradley, aims to facilitate peace and mutual understanding between people by addressing a root cause of social conflicts: identity constructions. The volume encompasses eight revealing case studies from regions throughout the world, conducted by experts from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. Each case study examines:
- How identities are being constructed and used in the region;
- How these identities are related to borders;
- In what ways identity constructions foment peace or conflict.
The concluding chapter summarizes insights gleaned and introduces an analytical framework for understanding the role of identity constructions in conflict or peace. This illuminating framework provides a solid basis for future research and training.
Promoting Conflict or Peace through Identity offers lessons to be learned on addressing physical and psychological space that characterize our being in the concept of identity for which many are willing to lay down their lives to defend.
H.E. Rt. Hon. Don McKinnon, former Commonwealth Secretary-General,
and former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of New Zealand
This volume is a timely and challenging opportunity for us to explore what is clearly a root cause of global tension and conflict - and that is identity construction.
Glenys Kinnock, Member of the European Parliament,
Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
Nothing can be achieved politically until the roots of the transformation of mere diversity into rabid sectarianism have been revealed. The studies have the inestimable value of at least beginning the task of revealing those roots.
Rom Harré, Director, Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science,
London School of Economics;
Fellow Emeritus, Linacre College, Oxford University;
Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.
The cogent analysis and insights highlighted in this ground-breaking research provide an invaluable framework for preventing conflict in ACP States and worldwide. Policymakers and practitioners alike can greatly benefit from the relevance and high calibre of Slocum-Bradley's volume.
Sir John R. Kaputin, KBE, CMG, Secretary General of the African,
Caribbean and Pacific Group of States