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Multiple perspectives in conflict settings: an introduction

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Abstract

In this introduction to the special thematic section, we discuss the pre-eminent research orientation in the social and political psychology of peace and conflict, its current critiques, and what more multiple perspectives can add to the field. First, we outline key characteristics of the ‘simple road’ to conflict settings: a simple, often binary, definition of the sides involved, a focus on one conflict-induced negative outcome and on one causal pathway leading to it, and a motivation to derive policy recommendations from empirical findings. Second, we discuss constructivist, normative, ecological, and pragmatic critiques of the ‘simple road’, as four distinct strands grounded in different epistemological assumptions, but converging on the account that research priorities need to be revised and methodologies be expanded. Third, engaging with the fundamental questions raised by the critiques, we make a plea for more multiple perspectives: for multiple voices among research participants (more diversified samples), for multiple positions from where to listen to these voices (more time-points and multi-factorial approaches), and for multiple sensors with which to capture them (more mixed methods). We highlight how the different contributions to the section provide creative developments along one or several of the three axes. On the basis of the concrete inspiring examples they provide, we argue that a field growing along these axes would increase its capacity to bridge its most important critical developments and to expand its scope in relevant directions.
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-924
JournalJournal of Social and Political Psychology
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019

    Research areas

  • Peace and conflict studies, Parsimonious research designs, Complexity, Multiple perspectives, Diversified samples, Holistic approaches, Mixed methods

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