Ring Theory: A Tool for Conflict Analysis and the Design, Monitoring and Evaluation of Peace Initiatives

Posted on 12th July 2013 in Peace, Peace Pedagogy, Self Determination, Theory

Abstract­: There are many tools for conflict analysis and the design, monitoring and evaluation of peace initiatives. Each of these tools has its advantages and limitations in a given context. Several of these tools used in conjunction with one another can give a relatively complete means for evaluating conflicts and designing processes to transform conflicts. Ring Theory is yet another tool for conflict analysis and the design, monitoring and evaluation of peace initiatives. Ring theory offers a more streamlined means for visualizing the complexity of conflicts and transformation processes than some of the other tools for conflict analysis and the design monitoring and evaluation of peace initiatives because it considers all interactions between all stakeholders across all levels and sectors of society. Ring Theory, used in in conjunction with other tools can yield a more complete and, therefore, accurate assessment of a conflict or transformation process. In so doing, it can increase the likelihood for success of peace initiatives. Ring Theory also has potential as an early warning tool for conflict prevention.


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[Edited version coming soon]

Toward a Pedagogy of Liberation: Holotivity and the Internal Arts in Peace Education

Posted on 9th June 2013 in Peace, Peace Pedagogy, Self Determination, Theory

Abstract: The evolutionary trajectory of many fields of discourse teleologically suggest a pedagogy for peace studies with an analogous trajectory towards a holistic inclusivity, an understanding of complexity, and an epistemological understanding that the rational limits of knowledge acquired through western intellectual discourse and deductive reasoning, or positivism,1 are not the actual limits of knowledge; rather, they can be considered as the boundaries for the nascent spaces and phases of the metaphysical and transcendental. Drawing from the fields of the natural sciences, philosophy, psychology, the internal arts, futures studies and peace studies I elucidate a concurrent trajectory of these respective fields as an argument for incorporating the internal healing arts into the pedagogy of a peace studies discipline.


I. Introduction:

This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. – Paulo Freire

In this paper I propose a rationale and justification for a pedagogy for peace workers to incorporate practices and principles from the internal healing arts. Drawing from many diverse fields of the natural sciences, transitional justice, philosophy, psychology and future’s studies I will elucidate the analogous trajectories of these fields converging on a holist dialogical2 conscientization3, or re-
indigenization (Nelson, 2006), towards empathy and the ‘self-actualization’4 of the peace worker which is very closely related to the goal and role of the Shaman – or internal healing artist. This lends to the notion that we should potentiate any and all possibilities for expanding the knowledge, skills and personal qualities of peace workers.


Two working assumptions for the following discourse are: 1. The broader and deeper a peace worker’s knowledge and skill set are, the greater will be their effectiveness in helping others transform from a state of internal and external conflict to a state of internal and external peace, and 2. the effectiveness in a peace workers ability to transform others from a state of internal and external conflict to a state of internal and external peace is greater when that peace worker has undergone an internal transformation towards self-actualization.
As I shall argue in this paper, there is not one working definition of such terms as peace, peaceworker, transitional justice, shamanism, or intervention. However, for the sake of establishing some of the positivist limits imposed upon such terms I shall introduce some working definitions for this paper. Later I will introduce the idea of ‘spectral composition’, providing several examples, to indicate that we need not limit ourselves to rigid ideas but, rather, we can incorporate a more inclusive, albeit more loosely defined, set of definitions expanding both the meaning of the language used to describe such peace praxes and, therefore, the praxes themselves.


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