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Storytelling and Narrative Construction in Peace and Conflict Studies

A presentation (2013) documenting the emergence and utility of storytelling and narrative construction in contemporary Peace and Conflict Studies.
by

Jeffrey Aguiar

on 10 October 2016

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Transcript of Storytelling and Narrative Construction in Peace and Conflict Studies

Conflict escalation and de-escalation (Ramsbotham et. al, 2011, p.13)
Difference
Contradiction
Polarization
Violence
War
Ceasefire
Agreement
Normalization
Reconciliation
Essential Questions
Bringing Forth
Hidden Narrative:
Storytelling in
Peace and Conflict Studies

Jeff Aguiar
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
"History is written by the victors."
--Attributed to
Winston Churchill
Some of the Players:
Leaders
Government Officials
Media
Aid Agencies
Interest Groups
What role does narrative play in current Western Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS)?
Whose narrative guides PACS processes?
Can narrative work in multiple PACS processes (e.g. mediation, negotiation and reconciliation)?
Third Parties
Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
Generally focused on fact-finding to establish "truth"
Accounts from both victims and perpetrators
Reinforces asymmetry in conflict
Can happen with or without structural intent
Perpetrators
Victims
What is the role of narrative in Western Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS)?
How does narrative impact PACS processes?
What challenges do PACS practitioners face in utilizing narrative?
What opportunities exist for narrative in inter-disciplinary PACS arenas?
Current literature and research highlights narrative as:
Propaganda
Historical fact
Present truth
By-product of PACS processes
Assumptions
Conflict is happening or has occurred.
Multiple parties are involved.
Due to protraction, most conflicts are culturally entrenched and can be connected to conflict party identity.
Narrative is storytelling in a contextual or constructed manner.
Applying Formal Theory to Narrative
History
Exposition/Given Circumstances
Inciting Incident/Rising Action
Difference/Contradiction
Rising Action
Polarization/Violence
Climax
War
Applying formal theory creates a linear model; when overlaying the escalation/de-escalation model, very strong connections exist between narrative construction and the phases of conflict.
Falling Action/Resolution
Ceasefire/Normalization/Agreement

Constructed narrative utilizing formal theory generally establishes causal relationships between events and data, generally employed in negotiation, political structures and legal systems. It often neglects human elements in conflict and peacebuilding.
Resolution/Denouement
Reconciliation
Moving from 2-D to 3-D
Basic Pyramid Formula (in PACS):
(History)(Facts)
Personal Perspective
X
(Opportunity)
2
X
Desire or Willingness to Heal
Challenges in Narrative Construction in PACS
Individual Characteristic Theory
Epistemology
Epistemology
Social Process Theory
Asymmetric Conflict
Identity (ethnic, social, etc...)
Practical Implications
Structural Theory
No Direct Action Intimated
Multi-level Approach Necessary
Protracts Solution Timetable
The Role of Narrative:
The Largest Challenge:
Persecutor
Victimizer
Control
Victim
Resistance
Persecuted
How do PACS practitioners discover hidden narrative?
Current PACS processes across the globe:
Allude to restorative justice & reconciliation processes including developing empathy and moving toward narrative incorporation
Echo of indigenous and traditional peacebuilding practices (accepting responsibility in the conflict and circle processes)
Past decade has shown application of strategies outside of ethnoterritorial conflict
Professor Dan Bar-On
Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME)
Professor Sami Adwan
Maureen Hetherington
The Junction:
Toward Understanding and Healing
Memory Controversies in Post-Genocide Rwanda
Beyond the Breach: Transforming White identities in the Classroom
Opportunities and "designing a way forward"?
Continue developing current research in ethno-territorial and identity-based conflict, searching for hidden and neglected narrative
Strengthening ties between
western and indigenous/traditional peacebuilding practice
Explore inter-disciplinary research centered around conflict management and resolution, including feminist theoretical structure, social and behavioral health methodologies, faith-based practices and transformative education.
Antagonist
Protagonist
Elisabeth King
Marc D. Rich
Aaron Castelan Cargile
Retrieved November 18, 2013 from http://marriagecoaches.wordpress.com/helpful-articles/
REFERENCES
Alkirnawi, Jamal. (n.d.). Storytelling as a tool in working with groups in conflict: The approach and the practical aspects in relating to Jews and Bedouin in the Negev. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Be'er Sheva, Israel.

Auerbach, Y. (2009). The reconciliation pyramid—a narrative-based framework for analyzing identity conflicts. Political Psychology, 30(2), 291-318. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2008.00692.x

Batchelor, D. (2007). Narrative and traditional peacebuilding systems: Implications for transitional justice in Africa and justice systems in Britain. British Journal of Community Justice, 5( 1), 5-18.

Bar-On, D. (2006). Tell your life story: Creating dialogue among Jews and Germans, Israelis and Palestinians. Budapest: Central European University Press.

Bar-On, D. (2008). Dealing with the past in Israel-Palestine and in the Western Balkans. Proceedings from Story-telling in Conflict: Developing Practice and Research. Berlin, GER: Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management.

Bar-On, D. & Adwan. S. (2003). PRIME’s sharing the history project: Palestinian and Israeli teachers and pupils learning each other’s narrative. In S. Mcoy-Levy (Ed.) Youth in post-Conflict. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press.

Bar-On, D. & Kassem, F. (2004). Storytelling as a way to work-through intractable conflicts. The TRT German-Jewish experience and its relevance to the Palestinian—Israeli context. Journal of Social Issues, 60(2), 289-306. DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-4537.2004.00112.x

Boudreau, T.E. (2011). When the killing begins: An epistemic inquiry into violent human conflict, contested truths, and multiplex methodology. In S. Byrne, T. Matyok & J. Senehi (Eds.). Critical issues in peace and conflict studies. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Chaudhry, L.N. & Bertram, C. (2009). Narrating Trauma and reconstruction in post-conflict Karachi: Feminist liberation psychology and the contours of agency in the margins. Feminism & Psychology, 19(3), 298-312. DOI: 10.1177/0959353509105621

Ethical and Shared Remembering. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2013, from http://thejunction-ni.org/index.php/ethical-and-shared-remembering

Garagozov, R. R. (2002). Collective Memory and the Russian 'Schematic Narrative Template". Journal Of Russian & East European Psychology, 40(5), 55-89.

Kellett, P. (2011). Narrative in the teaching and practice of conflict analysis, transformation, and peacebuilding. In S. Byrne, T. Matyok & J. Senehi (Eds.). Critical issues in peace and conflict studies. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

King, E. (2010). Memory controversies in post-genocide Rwanda: Implications for peacebuilding. Genocide Studies and Prevention, 5(3), 293-309. DOI: 10.1353.gsp.2010.0013

Mumby, D. (2005). Theorizing resistance in organization studies: A dialectical approach. Management Communication Quarterly, 19(1), 19-44. DOI: 10.1177/0893318905276558

O'Hagan, L. (2008). Stories in conflict: Towards understanding and healing. Derry, Ireland: YES! Publications.

Ramsbotham, O., Woodhouse, T. & Miall, H. (Eds.). (2011). Contemporary conflict resolution. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Rich, M. and Cargile, A. (2004). Beyond the breach: transforming White identities in the classroom. Race Ethnicity and Education, 7(4), 351-365, DOI: 10.1080/1361332042000303379

Salomon, Gavriel. (2004). A narrative-based view of coexistence education. Journal of Social Issues, 60(2), 273-287. DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-4537.2004.00118.x

Seibt, J. (2011). Beyond the “identity”-paradigm: Conflict resolution and the dynamics of self-understanding. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 28(3), 229-237. DOI: 10.1002/crq

Tabbush, C. (2009). The possibilities for and constraints on agency: situating women’s public and ‘hidden’ voices in Greater Buenos Aires. Journal of International Development, 21, 838-882. DOI: 10.1002/jid.1624

Towards Understanding and Healing. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2013, from http://thejunction-ni.org/index.php/towards-understanding-and-healing

Zheng, Wang. (2009). Old wounds, new narratives: joint history textbook writing and
peacebuilding in East Asia. History & Memory, 21(1), 101-126.

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