This question was one of the first we had to answer when starting this blog, and even though the answer seemed clear in our heads, we found that there were many aspects when discussing the purpose of this blog.
Blogging about peace seems just as controversial as studying peace. Researching security, conflict management and/or political science on the other hand, rarely needs a purpose statement to be accepted as a necessary and enriching aspect to the academic, political or public sphere. However, when peace is in focus, it starts looking a little different. This field is often derided, and the stereotypical peace student is often pictured as a long haired hippie with a sign that says ‘Flower Power’ on it. This gives an impression of peace being reserved for hippies, while conflict is for serious statesmen. This is, of course, a limited analogy from our side, but pin-points it well. As peace students, we can of course say that this is not the case, and we are not hippies, and neither do we carry ‘Flower Power-signs’.
An integrated approach to this topic includes the aspects mentioned above, from security, philosophy, transitional justice, gender studies, anthropology, to political science and more. This is necessary as the peace processes need rich contributions from every aspect of society in order to develop into an integrated approach in solving conflicts and improving the status quo. Issues, such as launching military operations, increasing the level of security in a country and policy making, are all closely linked to these processes of peace building, along with activists, politicians, and even hippies. The idea of what is the most constructive method, or what is the ‘right’ thing to do, will differ diversely from actor to actor. This, one can also see from this blog, where we will not agree on every topic and on every approach. However, dialogue is a keyword here, and the right to utter one’s position is one of the constructive approaches.
What we do as peace students, and will do in this blog, is to discuss theories, and how they are related to certain events happening in our world, either in the past, present or might-to-be-future. The purpose of studying and blogging about peace and conflict is not to stop or to prevent conflicts, but to equip ourselves and others with the necessary tools for constructive conflict resolution. Conflicts are not “evils”, neither do they need to be destructive, but through a constructive approach of solving conflicts one will directly work for a peaceful society.