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DIAGNOSIS PROGNOSIS THERAPY – a methodology for encompassig conflict analysis

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    About the Peace by Peaceful Conflict Transformation: TRANSCEND method. It seems, that it isn’t all tooo selfexplanatory and that it is not easy to understand what the difference between outer and inner narrative is.

    Here is an attempt at elaborating the general point here: A basic conceptual formula for the TRANSCEND approach is that there is an inner and an outer narrative when you are dealing with an interactive conflict formation. At the political level for instance, you would be talking about an endogenous and an exogenous narrative. At the micro level, you would say that there is an emotional and cognitive inner narrative = Id, Ego and Superego and that the outter narrrative = behaviour and interaction with other individuals or actors.
    This hopefully explains sufficiently. Of course there are tons of pdf’s about this in the archives.


    As you said, this concept is not so easy to understand.

    The difficulty is to see the conflict formation in its general context, which is not only inner (emotional), but it has also an outer aspect (interactive). Probably a limit of many approaches to conflict is to divide conflict narrative by considering only one of these aspects, by excluding the other side of the same coin.
    Although the reality is not black or white, but black AND white!
    The best strategy is to work on inner narrative (personal, endogenous, internal) while working on outer narrative (exogenous,including the general framework not only some variables, or actors…).


    What on earth are you people talking about? Seriously. How does this talk about endogenous internal narratives explain what is going on right now between Iran and the EU? Or regarding the Syrian Government vs. Syrian population confrontation?

    Aura TRIFU

    Hello everyone! I experience certain dificulty to understand the limit between party and actor. what does it mean councious? is it possible for someone having a threelemma and not being conscious about having it? and if not, if conscious but not organized, do we have a party or an actor? when do we exit elementary and step structural conflict in this situation?

    Janina Soentgen

    The Coming One Hundred Years of Peacemaking

    by Johan Galtung
    30th of August 1993


    Visions of Peace for the 21st Century

    IPB Centenary Conference, Helsinki, 30 August 1993

    1. Peace: The Diagnosis-Prognosis-Therapy triangle

    Peace studies are so similar to health studies that the triangle diagnosis-prognosis-therapy can be applied.  There is the common idea of a system (of actors, of cells), of well-states and ill-states.  The word pairs „health-disease“ from health studies and „peace-violence“ from peace studies can be seen as specifications of these very general labels.

    Both states are actually in need of diagnosis (or analysis), not only violence and disease.  Peace and health also have their conditions and their contexts; and they may differ from the conditions for violence and disease, but also be related to them.  Thus, one condition for peace is probably an equitable relation; but there may also be violence in a non-exploitative system if something goes wrong within one single actor.  And a condition for health is a stable equilibrium of key parameters of the human body.  And yet one cell or a colony of cells may go wrong, starting growing out of all proportions for instance.

    The peace researcher must look for causes, conditions and contexts in Nature, Human, Social, World and Culture spaces.  This highly transdisciplinary spectrum  makes peace studies very difficult intellectually, and the practice even more problematic.  But a narrow focus is almost doomed in advance[ii].

    If, now, for some reason, the system falls out of its „well-state“ and shows symptoms of ill-states coming up, or they are already there, the obvious question to be answered in a prognosis is whether the system is capable of Self-restoration to the well-state, or whether some Other-intervention is needed.           Intervention from the outside should not be identified with therapy.  First, it may on the balance make the system worse; second, Self may also be capable of providing therapy.  And third, Self-restoration does not necessarily mean conscious, deliberate intervention.  The system may „take care of itself“. Our bodies have that miraculous capacity to restore equilibrium through super-complex mechanisms we hardly even understand, leave alone are capable of influencing.  We can provide positive conditions for these restorative functions, however[iii].

    We then turn to the third corner, to therapy, meaning by that deliberate efforts by Self or Other to move the system back again to some well-state, or at least in that general direction.  Closely related to the distinction between negative and positive health and peace is one between curative and preventive therapy.  All four stand for well-states; there is no (or very little) disease or violence around.  The systems are (almost) symptom-free.  But in the negative case that is about all that can be said about them.  The equilibrium is so unstable that a minor insult can bring the system into an ill-state.  In the negative case the equilibrium is more stable, meaning there is more capacity of self-restoration; even if the system  may not be entirely symptom-free.  Curative therapy aims at the former, preventive at the latter.  Both are needed for health and peace.


    2.  The direct-structural-cultural violence triangle

    Creating peace obviously has to do with the reduction of violence (cure) and the avoidance of violence (prevention).  And violence is to harm and/or hurt.  We then assume the existence of something that can experience being harmed and hurt, and follow the buddhist tradition in identifying that something with life.  Life is capable of suffering violence done to the body and to the mind, referred to as physical and mental violence respectively. But life is also capable of experiencing bliss, the pleasure that comes to the body and the mind; some might reserve the term „positive peace“ for that experience[iv].

    So far we have looked at violence from the point of view of the receiver.  If there is a sender, an actor who intends these consequences of violence, then we may talk about direct violence; if not about indirect or structural violence.  Misery is suffering, hence there is violence somewhere.  The position taken here is that indirect violence = structural violence.  Indirect violence comes from the social structure itself, between humans, between sets of humans (societies), between sets of societies (alliances, regions) in the world.

    The two major forms of structural violence are well known from politics and economics: repression and exploitation.  Both work on body and mind, but are not necessarily intended.  From the point of view of the victim, however, that offers no comfort.

    But then, behind all of this, is cultural violence; all of it symbolic, in religion and ideology, in language and art, in science and law, in media and education; to mention eight.  The function is simple: to legitimize direct and structural violence.

    We are in fact dealing with violence in culture, politics and economics, and then direct violence.  But we need concepts broader than violence, and also broader than peace.  Power is that concept.  It can be used both for violence and for peace.  Cultural power moves actors by persuading them what is right and wrong; economic power by the carrot method of quid pro quo; political power by producing decisions and military (or „force“ in general) power by the stick method of „or else“.  In other words, four types of power, or discourses: cultural, political, economic and military.  Well known words, but not merely to be tossed around.  They stand for four realms of power and three types of violence (structural violence has political and economic faces), and by implication for four types of peace.  What do they look like, concretely?  But first some words about the relations between the four realms of discourse, power, violence and peace.

    Of course they all impact on each other; twelve arrows can be drawn.  But, however true, that is the easy way out, because no stand is taken.  Another truth should be added: there is also a general thrust in the power system in the sense that single acts of direct violence come out of structures of political decisions and economic transactions; and that the latter cause each other.  But underneath it all lurks culture;  legitimizing some structures and acts, delegitimizing others.

    The „realist“ assumption that only military power counts is the least realistic.  But the liberal faith in the right political structure and the marxist faith in the right economic structure are not much better.  They all matter, and particularly culture.  But single-minded culturalism is also insufficient.

    3.  Roads to peace: The eight-fold path

    Above two types of therapies or remedies have been  indicated: curative and preventive, aiming at negative and positive peace respectively.  And four types (with the two sub-types) of violence have been identified.  This gives us eight combinations or the „eight-fold path“ hinted at in the heading of this section.   Each combination, for instance „cultural power, positive peace“ confronts us with a question:  what can be done?  The reader will find some answers in Table 1 and can add and subtract.  The six headings around the Table are perhaps more important than the content inside:  they are supposed to inspire our search.  But other classifications of peace policies are certainly also possible, for instance building on the Nature-Self-Society-World-Culture scheme for locating conditions.

    There is no particular place to start and certainly no place to end policies for peace.  The best advice would be to work on all eight cells at the same time.  Better some moves ahead on all of them than a single trust on one, hoping that the others will then take care of themselves or at least be more easily handled afterwards.  The experience with single factor peace theories is generally very negative.  Kant hoped for republics and democracy, liberals for free trade and democracy, marxists for social production and guided democracy, mondialists for an ever stronger UN.  None of this brought peace in its wake.

    Most of the proposals are directed at the world as a system of countries with states inside them; the inter-state system.  But with some changes they also apply to inter-gender, inter-generation, inter-class and inter-nation(ethnic) systems.


    Table 1:     Peace Policies for the 21st Century


    │                       │ Negative peace                                 │Positive peace


    Military           │ defensive defense                                 │peacekeeping forces

    │                       │ delegitimize arms                                 │nonmilitary skills

    │                       │ nonmilitary defense                              │int’l peace brigades


    Economic       │ Self-Reliance I                                      │ Self-reliance II

    │                       │ internalize  exter’s                                │  share externalities

    │                       │ use own factors                                    │horizontal exchange

    │                       │ also locally                                          │South-South cooperat’n│


    │Political          │ Democratize  states                            │Democratize the UN

    │                       │ human rights all over                           │one country, one vote │

    │                       │ dewesternization                                 │no big power veto     │

    │                       │ initiative, referendum                            │Second UN Assembly    │

    │                       │ direct democracy                                │direct elections l/lM │

    │                       │ decentralization                                   │confederations        │


    │Cultural           │  Challenge                                          │Global Civilization   │

    │                        │  – singularism                                     │ – a Center everywhere│

    │                        │  – universalism                                    │ – relaxed time       │

    │                        │  – chosen people ideas                        │ – wholistic, global  │

    │                        │  – violence, war                                   │ – nature partnership │

    │                        │  Dialogue                                           │ – equality, justice  │

    │                        │  – between hard and soft                      │ – life enhancement   │


    Comments are needed, and they are endless.  People working for world peace, be that in the state system or in the non-state system of organizations will recognize something; few will recognize all the points made and if so not necessarily agree.  That debate is essential for the peace movement to grow  and become at least as influential as the anti-slavery and anti-colonialist movements were, once upon a time.  Just to be against war may be a good moral position.  But the question of alternatives to war, not to mention the conditions for war abolition refuse to disappear.  They have to be addressed.

    In a sense all of these points should be addressed at the same time to emphasize the synchronicity advocated.  But that style of communication does not communicate well, so let us proceed line by line, knowing that is no order of priority.


    3.1  Military policies

    The argument made here is not to abolish the military but to give to the military new tasks.  That institution has had very bad habits in the past, such as attacking other countries and nations, and other classes, usually at the behest of the ruling elites, killing and devastating.  External and internal wars, in other words.  But there have been virtues: good organization, courage, willingness to sacrifice.  The bad habits have to go; not necessarily the military and not necessarily their virtues.    The argument is to give the military new tasks, substituting defensive defense with defensive means (short-range conventional military, para-military and non-military forces) for aggressive, external warfare; provoking nobody, causing no fear while at the same time making it clear that attacks will be strongly resisted.     This is seen as a cure for the classical military. Peace-keeping forces can be used to prevent aggressiveness, even in places where there has been no open display of violence (but good reasons to assume that something may happen).  One idea may also be to station them preventatively in the (close to 30) small countries without military forces to forestall the possibility of some Big Brother demanding to be a „protector“ in crisis.

    But this is not enough.  There has to be further development of nonviolent lines, delegitimizing arms, developing nonviolent skills, reducing the conventional and para-military components, at the same time building up nonmilitary defense, turning to civilian peacekeeping and to international peace brigades in hot areas.  We are at the beginning of such important endeavors; they have to be developed much further.  The military are invited!

    However, there is also a negative side to all of this.  The long-term goal is the abolition of war as an institution, like the abolition of slavery and colonialism as institutions entirely realistic, but a demanding, difficult and absolutely necessary goal.  Of course, there will still be violence around, some of it will still be organized collectively (wars).  But not institutionalized, and not internalized.  Not legitimate.

    What upholds war?  Many factors, three of them being patriarchy (rule by the male gender of the human species), the state system with its monopoly on violence, and the super-state or superpower system with the ultimate monopoly of the hegemons.  Males more than females tend toward violence; and those who possess arms tend to think and act according to the old adage that to the person with a hammer the world looks like a nail.  It is worth pointing out that this is not necessarily so because he is violent but simply because he has the use of military power as both profession and monopoly and simply wants to be relevant.

    To fight patriarchy is to fight patriarchal values and to arrive at a more equitable sharing of power-sharing between the genders.  The danger is, of course, that in the process of the struggle women take on some of the male values they fight.

    The struggle against the tendency of states to seek recourse to military power goes via alternatives that are more compelling.  And the struggle against hegemonial tendencies in the world society of societies goes via democratization of that society, creating alliances of non-hegemonial countries within or across their „spheres of interest“, and through decision-making of the one country-one vote variety.  We return to that in 3.3 below.


    3.2  The economic dimension

    The problem here is not only economic practice, but also economic theory with its carefully nursed neglect of the side-effects of economic activity, the externalities.  Some of them are positive, like the challenge derived from taking on complex problems for which there are no immediate, routine solution.  And some of them are negative, like ecological degradation, not to mention human degradation.  They are not reflected in economic theory, or at most as side- and after-thoughts.  Economists focus on quantities and prices of products, goods and services, offered on the market, not reflecting whether they might also be bads and disservices.  Such variables nay be referred to as internalities, internal to the paradigm.  One example is „terms of exchange“, the quantity of one product needed to get in exchange a constant quantity of another product, like how much oil for one tractor. Another approach would be to compare the working hours needed.          Exploitation means that one party gets much more out of a deal than the other; measured by the sum of internalities and externalities.  The terms of exchange may be bad and getting worse, in addition one party gets all the challenge leaving the routine work to the other who also gets ecological and human degradation.  As this is a fairly adequate description of the trade between rich (not all in the North) and poor (not all in the South) countries in the world today we are dealing with a key case of structural violence.  This condition often leads to direct violence to change or maintain the structure, and is solidly protected by cultural violence provided by mainstream economic theory.  A heavy triangle of violence.


    One way out of the problem is to trade less, relying more on own resources (factors).  The positive externalities stays at home, but the negative externalities will be suffered by oneself rather than bringing them upon others.  Self-interest may then lead to better types of economic activity; that is the hope.

    If this is Self-reliance I then Self-reliance II extends this to include exchange with other countries.  The key point is sensitivity to externalities.  The short formula is to share them.  What this means in practice is to give each other positive externalities, and to cooperate in reducing the negative ones[v].

    At this point a Catch-22 problem arises.  Considerateness, taking the effects of international economic transactions on others (at least) as seriously as the effects on oneself, would generally presuppose some kind of closeness, a feeling of kinship.  This is what good family relations are supposed to be about.  One formula may be „neighboring countries“, another „likeminded countries“, still another „countries at the same level of development“.  Self-reliance II is supposed to develop  such affinities, and those affinities are at the same time the condition for their coming into being.

    And yet the best approach is to get started, like the Nordic countries, ASEAN countries and European Community countries have been doing.  This is probably also the best, perhaps even the only way for developing/poor countries in the South to develop, lifting not only oneself but also each other up with joint bootstraps.  In that perspective the South-South cooperation advocated by the Nyerere commission is not only a policy for development, but also for peace, at least within the South[vi].


    3.3  The political dimension

    Democracy is a great idea, but badly understood in relation to inter-state affairs.  If a democracy works well within a country it will, in principle, produce a relatively content population that on the average and over time gets much of its wishes satisfied within the boundaries of the feasible.  Again, in principle this should lead to a peace surplus inside the country, with democracy functioning as a nonviolent arbiter between parts of the population vying with each other for power and privilege.  But there is no guarantee that this intra-state peace surplus translates into peaceful activity in the inter-state system.  The hypothesis „democracy is peace-productive“ does not mean that democracy anywhere is productive of peace everywhere.  The democracy has to be in the inter-state system. And that system is conservative-feudal, not liberal-democratic.

    That opens for two approaches: make the inter-state system more democratic, and make the intra-state system even more peaceful, with democratic means.  Both are laudable goals and approaches, and there is no need to justify a more democratic country with the, at best unproven, at worst blatantly wrong, assumption that intra-peace translates easily into inter-peace.  If that were the case the leading democracies in the world would not also have been slaving, colonialist and highly belligerent in general, except for the smaller democracies which probably are peaceful more because they are small than because they are democratic.  This also works the other way: a democratic inter-state system does not automatically guarantee that all component parts become democracies over night.

    The most direct approach is to democratize the inter-state system.  One-country-one-vote is a formula that could be applied to the Bretton-Woods institutions, reducing the money power of the richest countries in the world.  This would probably also reduce the credit available.  The question is whether the World Bank record makes that eventuality entirely deplorable.  That the formula rules out Big Power veto is obvious, that has to go.

    But democracy is more about one-person-one-vote, and that points unambiguously to a world parliament, e.g., a Second UN Assembly, a United Nations People Assembly, with Member States as constituencies entitled to one seat per one million citizens (states with less than one million get one seat), but only if elected by popular and secret ballot, not selected by the state.  This would be an articulation channel additional to the UNGA, read as „government“ assembly.   The two assemblies could work out a timetable for transfer of more power from UNGA to UNPA, making governments responsible to people rather than vice versa.

                Human rights point in that direction although they also strengthen the state system by making states the guarantors of human rights, responsible to UN mechanisms.  Today their male, adult, human species, Western imprint is unmistakable; all of that could be improved without losing the power of that fine tradition against direct and structural violence.

    Bringing government closer to the people through confederal forms of cooperation rather than federations and unitary states, through decentralization inside countries and initiatives and referenda would also help.  But panaceas they are not: people are not always peaceful.  People, „civil society“, also kill. Why?


    3.4  THe cultural dimension

    Partly because they are brought up that way, not directly to kill, but to see killing as legitimate under some  conditions.  So we land on culture, the great legitimizer of violence, but also of peace.  And we ask the question, in the manifestations of culture (see section 2 above) where do we find the key carriers of violence?   The easy answer would be „religion and ideology“ since people are known to kill in the names of either.  However, not all are violent, some are even outspoken in their advocacy of nonviolence.  Or, the formulation preferred here: religions and ideologies usually come in hard and soft varieties, the harder varieties focusing on some abstract, transcending goal and the softer varieties focusing on empathy, even compassion.  Examples of the former would be a transcendent God, for instance in the occidental version of a male deity „in the heavens“; the ultimate triumph of some political utopia all over the world (capitalism, socialism, democracy, fascism); the greatness of the nation.  And examples of the softer or gentler goals would be an immanent God, as „that-of-God“ in everyone, satisfaction of concrete basic needs in concrete human beings, care for all life.          Obviously, the greatest occidental religions and ideologies, Islam and  Christianity, liberalism and marxism (the later will probably have some kind of comeback) have streaks of both so one may talk about hard and soft „aspects“ rather than hard and soft religions and ideologies.  Or even hard and soft varieties.        But in addition all four are also singularist, claiming to be the single, valid carrier of truth, and universalist, claiming validity all over in world space, and for all future.

             Such a faith becomes particularly dangerous when a chosen people (gender, generation, race, class, nation; or simply believers) is defined with the right and duty to spread or defend the faith. All four occidental faiths have elements of this; the archetype being the judaic idea of a Chosen People with a Promised Land.  But that idea is also found outside the Occident.

    All such notions should be challenged, they are replete with violence and war.  In addition the latter should be challenged directly.  In the pragmatic West that is perhaps best being done by pointing out how violence tends to breed more violence, probably one of the safer social science propositions.  And the best form of challenge is the dialogue.  Christianity comes in hard and soft varieties; that dialogue within a faith may be more meaningful to the believers than ecumenical dialogues across faiths.  One approach does not exclude the other, however.

    But the best approach is probably, as usual, positive. The four systems criticized above are carriers of a faith maximum, having answers to (almost) everything.  To demand belief from everybody is like prescribing the same size shoes for everybody. But a world civilization needs some faith minimum.  Table 1 gives some ideas that might be useful.  A world where each place is a center; no place a periphery.  A less dramatic time concept; ups and downs are normal, but keep them within bonds.  The world can only be understood in a reasonably wholistic and global manner.  Partnership with nature; humans and nature serving each other; providing for each other’s basic needs.  Equality and justice within and among societies.  The enhancement of all life as the end, and as the means.  Words, words, words.  But important.


    4.  Who are the carriers of peace strategies?

    The answer is, of course, in principle everyone.  But in practice there are problems with the state system as carrier.  There is the reason mentioned above, the tendency to transform the system, or at least the image of it, so that the means at their disposal become relevant or at least appear to be relevant: sticks, meaning violence, rewards, and negotiating elites.

    But there are also severe problems with the non-state system as a carrier of peace strategies.  People, as mentioned, are not always peaceful, and even if they are they have at their disposal mainly cultural power, not the carrots and sticks of economic and military power used by the state system.  Non-state systems will also tend to see the world as a nail only that their hammer is considerably softer, mainly persuasion by word and by example. This may help; it also may not.  There is a case for the double-track system, possibly adding to that a potential peace-maker who tends to be overlooked: the trans-national corporations.

    Faced with two major errors that can be committed, believing that peace can only be made by elites or only by non-elites, challenge is to commit neither error, trying to use both tracks. Maybe the end of the Cold war can serve as an example.  Important steps were taken by the state system, particularly in connection with the Helsinki process.  And important steps were taken by the non-state system, particularly by the dissident movements in East making the illegitimacy of (post-)stalinism crystal clear and the peace movement in East and West doing the same to nuclearism.  The two trends were united in the person and action of Gorbachov. It ended well fall 1989[vii].  So maybe a success can be repeated!


    [1].  A person feels well, or a person feels ill; but systems of actors do not feel that way.  Yet states of well-ness and ill-ness or „eu-functioning“ and „dis-functioning“ can be attributed to them.  The word disease (dis-ease) from health studies can be seen as related to the latter.

    [2].  An example would be the narrow-minded focus during the Cold war on balance of terror and propaganda; and what started happening after the Cold war was over.  Multi-causal or multi-conditioned problems demand multi-space/layer/level remedies.  The formula current in health studies, „psycho-somatic“ is a recognition of this, but could of course immediately be amended to „socio-psycho-somatic“ to be more satisfactory.

    [3].  The typical example for health restoration would be reasonable dietary and exercise habits, in other words „life style“.  An example for peace restoration would be to keep communication channels open.


    [4].  One reason why that is not being done here is the effort to see peace more as a floor than ceiling concept, something that very many can agree on.  The more peace is specified, the richer the definition, the less consensus.


    [5].  If A demands a product from B that challenges and stimulates B then B should, in return, demand an equally stimulating product from A, not simply a run-of-the-mill (literally speaking) product.  And if on or both of these processes leads to ecological and/or human degradation, then A and B should cooperate in reducing these consequences wherever they appear.

    [6].  See The South Commission Report, Geneva: South Center, 1990.

    [7].  For an effort to analyze what happened, see my „Eastern Europe Fall 1989-What Happened, and Why?“, in L. Kriesberg and D.R. Segal, Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 14, pp. 75-97; Greenwich: JAI Press, Conn., 1992

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