The Social Psychology of Intractable Conflicts

Volume 27 of the series Peace Psychology Book Series pp 203-212


Promoting Harmonious Relations and Equitable Well-Being: Peace Psychology and “Intractable” Conflicts

  • Laura K. TaylorAffiliated withQueen’s University Email author 
  • , Daniel J. ChristieAffiliated withOhio State University

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The chapter explores Bar-Tal’s legacy in relation to key concepts, perspectives, and findings that comprise the growing field of peace psychology, specifically the promotion of sustainable peace through the indivisible constructs of harmonious relations and equitable well-being. Analyzed through a peace psychology lens, Bar-Tal’s work highlights both the barriers to and bridges for achieving sustainable peace. Central concepts from his work, such as fear, insecurity, and an ethos of conflict, demonstrate key obstacles to fostering harmonious intergroup relations based on social justice. Bar-Tal’s work also identifies processes that can overcome these barriers, which is consistent with peace psychology’s emphasis on the development of constructive responses to violence and conflict. For example, the chapter outlines how confidence-building mechanisms, mutually respectful identities, and reconciliation processes, may help foster an ethos of peace that can be embedded in the structure of societies through peace education. The chapter concludes with implications and suggestions for future research, with a focus on the role of young people in settings of prolonged intergroup division and generational approaches to peacebuilding, as conceptualized through a peace psychology lens.