Culture, Social Representations, and Peacemaking: A Symbolic Theory of History and Identity

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Peace psychology has emerged like a phoenix from the ashes of the Cold War to provide an interdisciplinary approach to the psychology of peace and conflict that draws more strongly from macro-level and institutional factors than from individual-level cognitive-motivational factors characteristic of mainstream intergroup theory in psychology. A recent review by Christie (2006) highlighted three major themes for peace psychology in the post–Cold War environment: “(1) a greater sensitivity to geohistorical context, (2) a more differentiated perspective on the meanings and types of violence and peace, and (3) a systems view of the nature of violence and peace” (p. 3). These themes bear major structural similarities to social psychological movements in Asia privileging culturally appropriate social actions (Atsumi, 2007; Liu & Ng, 2007) and those in Europe articulating a representational form of social psychology (Moscovici, 1988). Reflecting its origins in the United States, however, curre