Bringing the spirit back in : theory and practice for peace building in international relations : a critique of the United Nations initiative 'Dialogue among civilisations'

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2005
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- The central theme and proposal of the thesis is that a normative, metaphysical, and communicative approach to peace building is required to incorporate the synergy of ideas, epistemologies, and values that underlie the present global relations between world civilizations and faiths. This will bring new light on unresolved issues of peace building in international relations. The thesis explores the present approaches of peace building, in particular a recent approach developed within the United Nations, civilizational peace building. This approach was developed as an outcome of the United Nations initiative 'Dialogue among Civilizations'. Such intercivilizational dialogue, as a component of peace building may be self evident to some but at present, it is not germane to the existing theories of international relations, or for that matter to the prevailing paradigm of our times. The thesis also develops a spiritual or metaphysical approach to peace building. Contested is that a spiritual or metaphysical approach to peace building will help address increased extremism in 21st Century conflicts. It is contested that extremism is the result of a relative lack of alignment between secular and religious worlds in international relations theory and practice. This proposal is important for the practitioners of international affairs and more specifically for those who have employed the civilizational peace building approach over the last few years with limited success. The discussion this proposal has to walk through is difficult terrain. The unfettered belief in the atheistic narrative within the social sciences is one of the last historical aspects of modernity that still needs to be more effectively deconstructed. The thesis contests that post-positivist approaches in international relations have created a space for the return of a greater wholeness of approach to building peace than has been available through the modem cosmopolitan based positivist discourse. The intellectual consensus of the dominant theory of Enlightenment tradition needs to be broken down and deconstructed to create a space for civilizational approaches. Such an approach could expand the boundaries of a cosmopolitan dialogue of meanings and values between world civilizations that would create a suitable foundation for peace building.
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