1st Blogentry

"Am Anfang war das Wort und nicht das Geschwätz, und am Ende wird nicht die Propaganda sein, sondern wieder das Wort." Gottfried Benn

"In the beginning was the Word and not gossip, and in the end there will not be propaganda but once again the Word." Gottfried Benn

The first step is always the hardest step. I think it is very useful for my dissertation to analyse the change in the concept of peacebuilding over the last decades. The discourse is still dominated by two different approaches. The top-down approach and the bottom up approach towards peace!

In few words:

- The top-down approach is the one of classical international politics, the realm of diplomacy. The believe behind the top-down approach is that peace agreements on the leadership level of a conflict will finally leak to the bottom of conflict societies. Peace agreements are a trade-off on interests and issues.

- The bottom-up approach is the newer approach of aid-workers and "philanthropist". By changing the awareness of societies towards violence and by showing ways to resolve disagreements peacefully, it is thought to have a sustainable and long-term impact towards a sustainable peace.

John Paul Lederach calls them the older brother of International Relations and the younger sister of Conflict Resolution, who are often in controversy to each other.

This "dichotomy" one can find in many shapes and forms in peace and conflict studies literature. In Johan Galtung's differentiation between peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding e.g..

Otherwise reality has proven that recipes that where successful in the cold war era and that relied strongly on the top-down approach, failed after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. This led to a rethinking of peacebuilding strategies.

However, it is not a real dichotomy. Both approaches are not mutually exclusive. In theory as well as in practice there is a raising awareness that both approaches are needed for a sustainable peace. Lederach calls it reconciliation, the United Nations developed the concept of an integrated peacebuilding strategy.

In the context of a radio station, which shall be a significant part of a peacebuilding strategy, I think both approaches are definitely needed. For example, a radio station needs legal certainty for journalist as well as training for journalists in professional standards.

Therefore my first lines of my dissertation will be on theory and practice of peacebuilding over the last decades.

Because this is my first blog entry, please feel free to comment on my ideas. Also feel free to criticise me, if you think that I am going in a wrong direction. A dissertation should not be about personal ego but about gaining scientific knowledge.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 05 January 2010 12:47)


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