From Violence to Political Engagement
Civil war and other kinds of violent internal strife often end only when one side achieves victory by use of force. If a victory does come, it is rare that it results in the kinds of integrated socio-economic systems that are crucial to building lasting peace. There are, however, instances where the contrasting parties in such conflicts decide to constructively engage with each other through negotiation, third party mediation, or other kinds of de-escalatory techniques. In these instances, the groups that had challenged state actors through violent means shifted toward more peaceful tactics.
The Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs in partnership with the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration(PARCC) are involved in a project to investigate these “constructive transformations.” We are interested in mapping: 1) the conditions that lead groups to engage in, or de-escalate from, violent struggle; 2) the effects of challengers to peaceful political activities; 3) the dynamics that sustain and nurture a peaceful transformation. To investigate these processes and dynamics we have developed a comparative case study methodology that can be applied to a cross section of cases from the recent and not-so-recent past.
To date the efforts of this project have resulted in a book edited by Bruce W. Dayton and Louis Kriesberg titlted Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding: Moving from Violence to Sustainable Peace (Routledge 2009).