Peacemaking is a form of conflict resolution
Conflict resolution
Conflict resolution is conceptualized as the methods and processes involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of some social conflict. Often, committed group members attempt to resolve group conflicts by actively communicating information about their conflicting motives or ideologies to the rest...

 which focuses on establishing equal power relationships that will be robust enough to forestall future conflict, and establishing some means of agreeing on ethical decision
Ethical decision
In the context of decision making, your ethics are your personal standards of right and wrong. They are your basis for making ethically sensitive decisions.- Ethics vs. Morals :The words 'ethics' and 'morals' are frequently used interchangeably....

s within a community that has previously had conflict. In order to do so there must be reconciliation among adversaries by bringing understanding to both parties. When applied in criminal justice
Criminal justice
Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts...

 matters it is usually called transformative justice
Transformative justice
Transformative justice is a general philosophical strategy for responding to conflicts. It takes the principles and practices of restorative justice beyond the criminal justice system. It applies to areas such as environmental law, corporate law, labor-management relations, consumer bankruptcy and...

. When applied to matters that do not disrupt the community as a whole, it may be called mindful mediation.

The term peacemaking however is reserved for large, systemic, often factional conflicts in which no member of the community can avoid involvement, and in which no faction or segment can claim to be completely innocent of the problems. For instance, a post-genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 situation, or extreme oppression such as apartheid.

The process of peacemaking is distinct from the rationale of pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

 or the use of non-violent protest or civil disobedience
Civil disobedience
Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. Civil disobedience is commonly, though not always, defined as being nonviolent resistance. It is one form of civil resistance...

 techniques, though they are often practiced by the same people. Indeed, those who master the nonviolent techniques under extreme violent pressure, and who lead others in such resistance, have demonstrated the rare capacity not to react to violent provocation in kind, and the difficult skill of keeping a group of people suffering from violent oppression, coordinated and in good order through such experience.

Given that, and a track record of not advocating violent responses, it is these leaders who are usually most qualified for peacemaking when future conflict breaks out between the previously warring sides.


Mohandas Gandhi is widely recognized as an important theorist of the peacemaking strategy. He noted in particular that leaders who had been successful at violent strategies were counter-productive in peace time, simply because these strategies now had to be abandoned. But if a movement had adulated and emulated these people, it was unlikely ever to be able to make permanent peace even with those factions it had conquered or dominated, simply because the leaders lacked the skills and had become leaders in part for their suppression of the other side. Accordingly, even if a movement were to benefit from violent action, and even if such action was extremely effective in ending some other oppression, no movement that sought long-term peace could safely hold up these acts or persons as a moral example
Moral example
Moral example is trust in the moral core of another, a role model. It was cited by Confucius, Muhammad, Mohandas Gandhi and other important philosophers and theologians as the prime duty of a ruler - including the head of a family or the owner of a business....

 or advise emulating either. Gandhi's views have influenced modern ethicist
An ethicist is one whose judgment on ethics and ethical codes has come to be trusted by a specific community, and is expressed in some way that makes it possible for others to mimic or approximate that judgement...

s in forming a critique of terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

, in which even those who support the goals must decry the methods and avoid making, for instance, a suicide bomber into a hero.

See also

  • Peace makers
    Peace makers
    Peace makers are individuals and organisations involved in peacemaking in countries affected by war, violent conflict, and political instability. They engage in processes such as negotiation, mediation, conciliation, and arbitration – drawing on international law and norms...

  • Two-level game theory
    Two-level game theory
    Two-level game theory is a political model of international conflict resolution between liberal democracies derived from game theory and originally introduced in 1988 by Robert Putnam....

  • Peace Direct
    Peace Direct
    Peace Direct is a charity based in London, England which supports grassroots peacebuilders in areas of conflict. Peace Direct focuses on supporting grassroots peacebuilders who are local to the conflict and have a clear vision of what needs to be achieved. Peace Direct funds this work, promotes it...

  • Peace
    Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

  • Peacekeeping
    Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

  • Peace enforcement
    Peace enforcement
    Peace enforcement is a practice of ensuring peace in an area or region. Part of a three part scale between peacekeeping and peacemaking, it is sometimes considered to be the midpoint. Peace enforcement is different from peacemaking where options, possibly including force, are used to bring...

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams
    Christian Peacemaker Teams
    Christian Peacemaker Teams is an international organization set up to support teams of peace workers in conflict areas around the world. These teams believe that they can lower the levels of violence through nonviolent direct action, human rights documentation, and nonviolence training. CPT sums...

External links

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