Conflict, Culture and Communication: Our Conceptual Immagination

This Seminar deals with  the limits of reason and rationality and the need to go beyond such methods when it comes to the field studies of Peace and Conflict. Considering that conflict is not something rational, it would be a mistake trying to deal with those problems with rationality. On his approach, Peter Praxmarer develops the concept of Moral Imagination, also posed by Lederach, as a tool to address those questions that our rationale do not seem capable to attain.

Starting with the presentation of a sad reality (the fact that human beings, as evolved as they can be, are also capable of doing some of the worse actions ever imagined) brings, in Lederach’s words, the need to “imagine responses and initiatives that, while rooted in the challenges of the real word, are by their nature capable of rising above destructive patterns and giving birth to that which does not yet exist. In reference to peacebuilding, this is the capacity to imagine and generate constructive responses and initiatives that, while rooted in the day-to-day challenges of violent settings, transcend and ultimately break the grips of those destructive patterns and cycles” (LEDERACH Paul – 2005, p. 182)

Praxmarer approaches the question by analysing several important variables in the process of developing a moral imagination but, other than that, I’d like to contribute to his analysis by presenting Domenico De Masi’s concept of Creative Leisure as a very interesting tool in the development of a moral immagination. Although writing for different reasons then the peace and conflict studies area, when analysing reality, De Masi notes that our post-industrial society is marked by the lost of tradional ideologies and beliefs as a regulation of social relations. Without new mental, emotional and spiritual constructs to support decisions and actions, individuals feel lost for the lack of traditional behave references that no longer apply to reality. This poses a difficulty in integrating new social actors among the traditional ones.

All these changes generate great disatisfaction in the western society model based on work, market and competitivity. As an alternative, De Masi proposes a revolutionary concept of dealing with everyday life: mixing work, study and games/leisure as precondition for better addressing the pressing needs of society. To do so, it is necessary an equitative combination of leisure, work and study, acentuating real values such as friendship, love, education, living together, so that we can achieve great advances in knowldge and creativeness, fundamental to Lederach’s Moral Immagination.

To illustrate all this, nothing better than this video:



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