Factors in The Process of PEACE MAKING

Factors in The Process of PEACE MAKING

Some powerful forces can transform hostility into harmony. In the light of this statement, discuss the factors that can play an important role in the process of  “PEACE MAKING”.

Peace Making?

The term “peacemaking” is used in two ways. First, peacemaking is sometimes used to refer to a stage of conflict, which occurs during a crisis or a prolonged conflict after diplomatic intervention has failed and before peacekeeping forces have had a chance to intervene. In this context peacemaking is an intervention during armed combat.

The second way the term is used is to mean simply “making peace.” Idea of making peace implies a certain devotion towards that goal. Peacemaking is necessary and important in cases of protracted violence that do not seem to burn themselves out and in cases where war crimes and other human devastation demand the attention of outside forces. In both cases, peacemaking always implies the threat of violent intervention as an act of last option. In the second case it may demand violent intervention sooner rather than later.

Social psychologists have focused on four strategies for helping enemies become comrades. We can remember these as the four C’s of the peacemaking: Contact, Cooperation, Communication, Conciliation.



Might putting people into close contact reduce their hostilities? There are good reasons to think so. yet, despite some encouraging early studies of desegregation, other studies show that in schools mere desegregation has little effect upon racial attitudes, like the one study by social psychologist Walter Stephan (1986). According to him, sometimes desegregation has led to increased prejudice (especially by Whites toward Blacks) and sometimes to decreased prejudice (especially by Blacks towards Whites). But on balance the effects are minimal for both Black and White students. In most schools, interracial contact is seldom prolonged or intimate. When it is structured to convey equal status, hostilities often lessen.

Here equal-status contact means the contact made on equal basis. Just as a relationship between people of unequal status breeds attitudes consistent with their relationship, so do relationships between those of equal status. Thus, to reduce prejudice, interracial contact should be between persons equal in status.


Although equal-status contact can help, it is sometimes not enough. Contacts are especially beneficial when people work together to overcome a common threat or to achieve a superordinate goal. A superordinate goal is a shared goal that necessitates cooperative effort; a goal that overrides people’s differences from one another.

In his boys’ camp experiments, Sherif used the unifying effect of a common enemy to create cohesive groups. Then he used the unifying power of cooperative effort to settle the conflicting groups. Taking their cue from experiments on cooperative contact, several research teams have replaced competitive classroom learning situations with opportunities for cooperative learning. Their heartening results suggest how to constructively implement desegregation and strengthen our confidence that cooperative activities can benefit human relations at all levels.

Extending these findings, Samuel Gaertner with his fellows (1990, 1991) reports that working cooperatively has especially favorable effects under conditions that lead people to define a new, inclusive group that dissolves their former subgroups. If, for example, the members of two groups sit alternately around a table, (rather than on opposite sides), give their new group a single name, and then work together, their old feelings of bias against the former outsiders will diminish. “Us” and “them” become “we”.


Conflicting parties can also seek to resolve their differences by bargaining either directly with one another or they can ask a third-party to mediate by making suggestions and facilitating their negotiations. Or they can arbitrate by submitting their disagreement to someone who will study the issues and impose a settlement.

When a pie of fixed size is to be divided, adopting a tough negotiating stance tends to gain one a larger piece (for example, a better price). When the pie can vary in size, as in the dilemma situations, toughness more often backfires.

Third-party mediators also help resolve conflicts by facilitating constructive communication. Their first task is to help the parties rethink the conflict and to gain information about the other party’s interests. By prodding them to set aside their conflicting demands and opening offers and to think instead about underlying needs, interests and goals, the mediator aims to replace a competitive “win-lose” orientation with a cooperative “win-win” orientation that aims at a mutually beneficial resolution. Mediators can also structure communications that will peel away misperceptions and increase mutual understanding and trust.


Sometimes tension and suspicion run so high that communication becomes all but impossible. Each party may threaten, coerce or retaliate against the other. Unfortunately, such acts tend to be reciprocated, thus escalating the conflict. In such times, small conciliatory gestures by one party may elicit reciprocal conciliatory acts by the other party. Thus tension may be reduced to a level where communication can occur. One such conciliatory strategy, GRIT (graduated and reciprocated initiatives in tension reduction), aims to alleviate tense international situations.

Those who mediate tense labor-management and international conflicts sometimes use one other peacemaking strategy. They instruct the participants in the dynamics of conflict and peacemaking. The hope is that understanding – understanding how conflicts are fed by social traps, perceived injustice, competition and misperceptions and understanding how conflicts can be resolved through equal-status contact, cooperation, communication and conciliation – can help us establish and enjoy peaceful, rewarding relationships.

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