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Challenges of Peace Research

  • Luc ReychlerEmail author
  • Arnim Langer
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Part of the Pioneers in Arts, Humanities, Science, Engineering, Practice book series (PAHSEP, volume 24)

Abstract

The Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) responds to one of the most frequently asked questions in the field of peace studies: “What are the challenges facing peace researchers in the twenty-first century?” In the first section he notes that, in some ways, the world is more peaceful now than at in any time in the past century, but then adds three sobering observations about the very high levels of manifest and potential violence, the predominantly reactive nature of most conflict prevention efforts, and the strong feelings of relative deprivation in the era of globalization. In the second section he states that if peace researchers want to make a greater difference, they must challenge the ways and means of the current practice of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The first challenge is not to lose sight of the big picture. The macro-perspective gives an overview of the necessary peacebuilding efforts and allows the peacebuilders to oversee and coordinate what they are doing. The second challenge is to gain a better understanding of the sustainable peacebuilding architecture. Winning a war can sometimes be relatively easy – or at least rapid – but winning the peace can be a far more complex and time-consuming enterprise. The third challenge concerns the slow learning process. There is a need to build structures that support a better exchange of knowledge between the decision-makers, the practitioners in the field, and the research community. The fourth challenge is to deal more effectively with the peacebuilding context, which is characterized by uncertainty, unpredictability, competing values and interests, and the struggle for power. The article ends with a plea for reflecting on the meaning of professionalism in peacebuilding.

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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social Sciences, Leuven International and European Studies, Centre for Research on Peace and Development (CRPD)University of Leuven/KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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