A Peace-building Paradigm for Peace Psychology

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Abstract

Whilst not prominent in psychological approaches to peace – both in Australia and internationally – ‘peacebuilding’ is an important and distinct paradigm in the multidisciplinary field of peace studies and conflict resolution. Contributions towards understanding and approaching direct violence have been more prominent with psychology than the more positive focus of peacebuilding. In this chapter, peacebuilding is presented as an important part of peace psychology into the future. This chapter provides a brief familiarisation of the peacebuilding paradigm (and how peace psychology may be situated to contribute therein). The theoretical emphasis is on the influential peacebuilding approach of scholar-practitioner John Paul Lederach, as representative of a contemporary peacebuilding paradigm that aims to develop more culturally derived, less linear and more inclusive (multi-level and multi-sectoral) approaches to peace. How reconciliation is understood and situated within the peacebuilding paradigm is also given attention because it contrasts with the more discrete treatment it receives in psychology and the Australian context. The chapter considers whether peacebuilding as a paradigm can enhance efforts by Australian scholars and practitioners to contribute to the building of a sustainable peace. An extension of this is whether we can link contemporary peacebuilding endeavours to more strategic and reflective practice – to develop, challenge or even transform our own thinking, approaches and methods for peace psychology in Australia.