Peace is an intricate process that is predisposed by social Essay

Peace is an intricate process that is predisposed by social, economic, and political structure; a multiplicity of actors; and a whole host of policies. Current post war societies expose a high quantity of discrepancy concerning post-war violence and change to the political system. An inclusive approach to peace is essential in order to embrace the different cultural and historical experiences of all regions across the world. There is no shortcut which can be adopted or method to imitate the research patterns with regards to peace and conflict research.

An interregional assessment of violence patterns suggest that conflicts are strongly related to processes of social change at the junction of increasing globalisation and local, significant cultural and historical trajectories. The analysis of these conflicts is thus the necessary starting point for peace-building strategies. A continuation of debates are centred on the question of the applicability of universal ethics. There is a need to recognize that morality is somewhat culture-driven rather than universal, then the question of ethics may be seen in a varied light.

While universal ethical principles have traditionally been accepted as valid and applicable in all situations, this paper is built on the foundation that argues that diverse research practices may dictate ethical principles becoming mediated, enabling the implementation of different meanings in relation to those practices. This paper does not intend to define complex terms such as ethics and morality, both terms will be used synonymously. The author accosts to the proposal that suggests an approach that accepts the tension between, and the strengths of, both cultural relativism and universalism coupled with the demonstration of how universalism with diversity operates in the context of research practice. It is noteworthy that actions that are assumed as ‘right’ in reference to ethical norms endorsed in one culture or society may not always be considered ‘right’ in reference to ethical norms in another culture or society. The writer to a greater extent proposes that the view that ethics is not a one size fits all issue in peace and conflict research is accurate.


Ethics- Ethics is about how people should live in the right way. Fromm (2006: 18) advocates that,’humanistic ethics is the applied science of “the art of living” based upon the theoreticalscience of man’. In a research context, ethics is about how research shouldbe completed in the right way – ethical research conduct. Western ethics is oftenthought to contain universal principles that are norms that apply to all people in allplaces, times and contexts. A norm that is not universalisable is considered non ethical (Nordenstam, 1968).

It is the writer’s view that ethics is that which is right in comparison to that which is wrong there is a need to know that which is wrong but ethics is what then projects one to do the right thong so to speak.

Research- is a systematic, socially organized quest for new and better insight. ‘Research ethics’ refers to a complex set of values, standards andinstitutional schemes that help constitute and regulate scientific activity.(Madushani 2016).

The writer accosts to the view that not only is research the systematic collection of data but it goes a notch further to anaylising in a bid in remedying some of the social ills that are apparent in the world that we live in today.

Peace: Peace is more than just the absence of war and violence. Peace is not the absence of conflict – but the ability to manage conflict constructively, as an important opportunity for change and increased understanding. Peace is a commitment to understanding, celebrating and learning from differences.The author is of the view that peace is a commitment not to harm, but also to nurture, all individuals alike.

Conflict: According to the Collins dictionary it is a disagreement between two or more incompatible parties or parties who hold different views; in essence it is a clash which is mostly violent in nature. This is usually fuelled by the opposition of one party to another, in an attempt to reach an objective different from that of the other party. The variation in values, beliefs and principles allows conflict to arise.

These terms will be adopted in this study based but not limited to the above definitions.


Different schools of thought are of paramount importance to note. Firstly the new perspective which has been posited known as the situated ethics based on exploration of how ethical issues are practically handled by educational researchers in the field (Simons and Usher, 2012). This is mainly premised on the circumstantial aspect of research. This notion differs from applying the second school of thought which is the cultural relativism in ethical research which borders around the idea that culture is of essence as a source of the validity of a moral right or rule. Radical cultural relativism goes a notch higher and holds that culture is the sole source of the validity of a moral right or rule. Thirdly Radical universalism would hold that culture is irrelevant to the validity of moral rights and rules, which are universally valid (Chandler and Munday 2016). The stand taken in this article is that neither radical cultural relativism nor radical universalism approaches are prudent.

As an alternative, this paper is situated where ethical principles meet ethical practices in research, and endeavours to demonstrate the application of universal ethical principles with multiplicity that allows partial deviation from universal principles.


Peace is a complex concept and has a variety of definitions and indicators. A minimum criterion is the absence of war, that is, organised political violence between at least two actors. Concepts of peace must go beyond such a narrow understanding and take into account other forms of collective violence. Otherwise, countries not at war but with high levels of other forms of violence would formally be at peace.

The primary ethical obligation of any researcher working with humans is that the well-being of the individual research subject must take precedence over all other interests. Each research participant must be informed of the research aims, methods, benefits, risks and institutional affiliations of theresearcher, as well as the right to refuse to participate in the research, or to withdrawconsent at any time without reprisal. Notably, the researcher must seek the research subject’s freely-given informed consent, preferably in writing. If consentcannot be expressed in writing, the non-written consent must be formally documentedand witnessed.

The role of ethics and the degree of transparency of the personal values held by researchers have undergone changes in the field of social science research as theWestern world has progressed. The emerging new paradigm in the twenty-firstcentury challenges researchers to keep pace with evolving research methods and the underpinning ethics, which allow (or inhibit) research to be inclusive of cultural diversity. In a multicultural society, the values from one single culture cannot be assumed as the values for all. Berghan (2007: 13) states that ‘multiculturalism accepts that ethical principles are relative and are contextually bound rather than absolute’. If ethics can be related to a culture’s values and beliefs, then it could besaid that cultural values must bear influence on the process of ethical deliberation.

It is noteworthy to state that universality with diversity differs from the perception of cultural relativism within ethical deliberations. Donnelly (1984) describes cultural relativism on a continuum from strong to weak, where strong cultural relativism presumes culture as the primary basis for the validity of a moral right orethical judgment. Weak cultural relativism accepts that culture may be importantto the validity or a moral right, but recognises universal human rights as the overridingrule. Universality with diversity argues for an approach that preserves the tension and insights of both universalism and relativism in order to proactivelyempower emancipatory research.Indigenous M?ori researchers (Coram, 2011; Smith, 1999; Tauri, 2014) have spoken out about the need to value diversity in research ethics and, significantly,in relation to indigenous research, that the researcher decolonise the research.

These findings stem from a history of damaging consequences arising from research projects conducted on indigenous communities that were developed within a dominant Western research approach. (Koster et al. 2012) call for decolonisation of research by moving away from methods that maintain traditional ways of working on indigenous communities towards engaging in research Msoroka and Amundsen that is completed with and for indigenous communities. Continuing to develop indigenous research paradigms and processes that focus on empowering their institutions and communities is paramount (Koster et al., 2012; Tauri, 2014). To do this, the research must be based on ethics that respect and value the community as a full partner in the co-creation of the research question and process. Thus it suffices to note that the values of any given society may never be the same, which then gives rise to there need to have a diversified approach with regards to research as a one size fits all approach in ethics will never suffice. Tauri goes as far as saying that diversity should be valued above universality, stating that,

‘…ethical research must begin by replacing Eurocentric prejudice with new premisesthat value diversity over universality’

(Tauri 2014: 147). Tauri’s (2014) concern is that Eurocentric notions tend to be privileged and form the concretised basis of what constitutes ethical research conduct, therefore reviewing, approving or rejecting research proposals based on principles that elevate the status of ‘individual rights’. In so doing,research processes that empower communitarian or social principles valued by some cultures are marginalised.

According to Nygard and Saus the norm is that there is the overlooking of the external and collective risk involved in research projects and there is no acknowledgement of diversity among groups…’. They found that when there is no consideration of culture and context in the institutionalisation of ethics, the ethical considerations depend solely on the personal ethics and morals of researchers in the field.

Mele and Sanchez-Runde (2013) note the tension between universal ethics and local values and norms. Simultaneously, they raise the point that, particularly in a global world, ethics in culturally diverse and global environments may necessitatethe opening of closed attitudes. We propose a hybrid approach of universality with diversity and illustrate how this was attempted in two current research projects.

Hudson (2004) and Berghan (2007) suggest that universal approaches to ethics fail to recognise the impact that cultural difference has on the application of ethical principles. A tension exists for researchers needing to research with communities where local or cultural ethical norms are in conflict with universal ethical principles.

An example that quickly comes to mind is with regards to African moral belief which is based on the natural sociality of human beings and sets a social/communitarian ethic, rather than an individual ethic. Individualistic ethics that place emphasis on the welfare and interests of the individual is barely regarded in African moral thought (Gyekye 2010). According to the social ethic that is at the heart of African culture, social and community life carries a profound sense of duty for individuals with respect to their community and its members. This conspicuous opinion of ‘duty to others’ in African contexts has a interconnected status to the concept of ‘individual rights’ in Western ethics. Ethically, in Africa, responsibilities to the community take priority over individual rights, not the other way round as seen in Western ethics. This morality is also seen in other cultures.

This inconsistency in cultural belief is a clear indicator that the ethically norms that apply to say the African setup and the western setup ought to be different.

Galtung posits that broader concepts of peace exist in other historical and cultural contexts. Emphasis is placed not only on the reduction of direct physical violence but also on enhancing people’s opportunities to achieve their potential. Contemporary peace building strategies are bordered around a sequential approach: focus is chiefly on the termination of war followed by the introduction of reforms intended at increasing participation. On the other hand with the end of war, peace took a back seat in the political agendas, which had turned towards “normal” problems. Post-war protests in opposition to the existing neoliberal policies were largely criminalised, and the quandary of security and crime dominated the public discourse, demobilizing social protests and undermining democratic reforms. Yet it may be agreed that peace is more than the absence of war or other manifestations of violence, the pathway to peace remains long, complicated, and non-linear. This developed following the Cold War, when international peace-building strategies defined peace as the absence of external and internal war in politically democratic and market-oriented societies; this was known as the liberal peacebuilding concept. It was primarily based on the experiences of Western developed countries,state centred, and highly normative. From the foregoing there are very serious reservations about whether this can be mimicked in other world regions and whether it can be done in a short period of time.

Achieving peace cost Europe many centuries and millions of victims. The writer is of the view that the situate ethics speaks to these circumstances as it is quite evident that in the western developed countries it was possible because of say the resources. The thinking that the same may be done in other parts of the world which have not reached the same status in terms of development would be tantamount to grabbing at straws and it can safely be stated that failure will be guaranteed.

In the present day, Europe carries on observing many manifestations of violence (e.g. against women, migrants, and other marginalised groups), and it is far from certain that post–World War II peace is irreversible.Experiences with the liberal peace-building put forward that there is no shortcut to peace using a Western template. In El Salvador and Guatemala in Central America, Mozambique and Angola in Southern Africa, and Cambodia and Timor Leste in Southeast Asia, the United Nations and other international actors supported liberalpeace-building in the early 1990s.

While none of these countries has experienced war recurrence, the data on violence and democratic reforms (state repression,homicide, political and civil rights, the political regime), exhibit that they have only enjoyed mixed success with liberal peace-building. It is quite clear that there is no recognisable or linear relationship between violence indicators, the guarantee of civil and political rights, and political regime. An example in question , despite being the most violent country, El Salvador has recorded the highest success with regard to political transformation. Timor Leste posits that apparently the most promising example of liberal peace-building, has experienced increasing levels of violence and authoritarianism according to reports. In the interim, Mozambique was apparently in danger of witnessing 20 years of peace come to an end following the Mozambican National Resistance’s (RENAMO) 2013 pronouncement to abandon the peace agreement because it did not see any chance of a democratic change of power. This is a clear illustration of the fact that there are no cohesive patterns of post-war development that are in keeping with the liberal peace-building paradigm and the application of a one size fits all is not appropriate given the circumstances.

Although made in the context of the Cold War, former German chancellor and Nobel Peace laureate (1971) Willy Brandt’s quote that “Peace is not everything. But without peace,

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