What is Peace and Conflict studies?
If you are not familiar with the topics within Peace and Conflict studies you might be wondering “Why should I study this?” The course focuses on topics concerning conflicts, war and peace; but what does this actually mean?
Peace and conflict studies is fascinating because it delves into some of the quintessential questions concerning human relations – the result of behaviour, cooperation and conflict. One of the core questions is how conflicts arise and how violent and non-violent conflicts can be solved.
To be able to answer these questions, and to understand how conflicts originate you need to take a broad approach. Peace studies is an interdisciplinary study, and to understand the source of violent conflicts one can compare theories from psychology, social sciences, international relations, philosophy, political science and other academic fields.
To understand how one can change violence and violent episodes, peace studies scholars investigate explanatory and constructive methods. Moreover they explore different ways in which people can coexist, make peace and post conflict solutions.
What is peace?
This is another crucial question. Within peace studies peace is analysed and understood from the perspective of different cultures and religions. During the semester in Pondicherry, India, focus will be on different concepts of peace and conflict in Islam and Hinduism. Peace supporters locally and globally; peace activists, anti-war movements, non-violent demonstrations and demonstrations function as starting points for peace studies. Hence, peace is so much more than just the absence of war and violence.
Religion, peace and conflict
The fight for peace has engaged humanity since the beginning of history, as well as violence and conflicts. In every civilization humans have sought the meaning of life, including the meaning and understanding of war and peace.
In spite of different perceptions, most religious traditions agree on a central idea of life and peace on earth. For many peace activists and scientists the understanding of war and peace is based on the explanations of individuals such as Gautama Sidharta, Mahatma Gandhi, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Jesus Christ, Kabir, Guru Nanak, Sri Aurobindo and J. Krishnamurty. Their lives, thoughts and actions have had a strong influence on the understanding of peace studies.
The aspect of religion, war and peace are evaluated and taken into account when conflicts are to be analysed and solved. Religious dimensions play a central role in people´s actions and comprehensions. By evaluating religion and its mechanisms as an integrated part of human relations peace studies stresses that violent actions and conflicts need to be analysed by including the individual´s and the society´s religion and belief systems. Possible answers, causes and solutions can thus be found within the different religions.