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Religion and Peacebuilding - Assignment

therefore militates

therefore militates towards what he calls Strong Peace, which he defines as a synthesis of those aspects of Galtung's concepts of “negative peace” (the absence of violent conflict) and “positive peace” (a sustainable, structural peace involving the full integration of human society (Galtung:1964) which veer towards non-violence and harmony. (Webel:2007). “Peacebuilding” Appleby has formulated a useful, succinct definition of religious peacebuilding as “the participation by religious actors in a larger, communitywide effort to build structures of civil society that support non-violent, inclusive, and tolerant civic life” (Appleby: 1999: 295) which, in my view, sits neatly within the concept of educational peacebuilding on a local level. The 4Rs Having come to the conclusion that “peace” must mean “peace and justice”, Novelli et al. take as their starting point Nancy Fraser's concept of social justice, consisting in “redistribution”, “recognition” and “representation” (Fraser:2005), to which they add a further element of “reconciliation”, thus determining these to be the four components of a “socially just post-conflict society” (Novelli et. al 2015:10). The Working Paper defines each of these components, which can be summarised as follows: Redistribution – remedies to social injustices cause by inequalities in distribution of resources, participation in the economic structures, and lack of equal opportunity Recognition – addressing inequalities arising from status in local society, be that as a result of gender, culture, age etc. Representation – inequalities in participation in the decision-making processes Reconciliation – truth and reparations, transitional justice, forgiveness, bringing communities together. (Novelli et al.:2015:12) at least as long to delegitimize political violence, both from above (by the state) and from below (by non-state actors). (Webel:2007:8) 4

The authors see education as having a transformative role in conflict-ridden and post-societies, proclaiming it to “embedded within processes of social justice and societal transformation”. (Novelli et al.:2015:10). In their view, education is a transformative remedy, one which has the power to transform the root causes of conflict. What Role has Religion in the 4Rs Framework? It is apparent, on the face of it, that the Working Paper is part of a series of academic papers aimed at establishing a workable approach to education in peacebuilding. However, other than to acknowlege that religion is an element to take into account 4 when analysing social injustice, the concept of religious education as a driver of societal transformation in peacebuilding is not considered. This lacuna arguably renders the authors guilty of one of the key points they raised as problematic in their introduction to the paper: the failure to connect with local actors. In other words, religion is treated as a characteristic to be taken into account when establishing peacebuilding education in a community, rather than a potential driver for peace to be harnessed and incorporated into the education process. In the chapter “Ambivalence as opportunity” Appleby briefly examines the role of religious education and formation as a peacebuilding mechanism (Appleby:1999:284-286). As local grassroots leaders, religious actors are well-integrated into, and respected by, their local communities. He sees the involvement of religious actors in, essentially, transmitting the peaceful message inherent in the religion of the community to be a useful peacebuilding mechanism. There is no doubt, however, that religious education can be as much a driver of conflict as a driver of peace. As part of the Innocenti Insight project at UNICEF, Bush and Saltarelli's study “The Two Faces of Education in Ethnic Conflict – Towards a Peacebuilding Education for Children” (Bush and Saltarelli:2000) is an important work which identifies the components of “negative” and “positive” education, and develops the concept of peacebuilding education. Fig. 1 below summarises the 4 See, for example, Table 1 at p. 16 of the Working Paper which indicates that “recognition” requires looking at the place of religious identity in the education system, but religion does not feature in any of the other categories, and is, most notably, absent from the “reconcilation” section. 5

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