Covid-19: Peace educational reflections on the transformational potential of a virus
A guest article by the Friedensakademie Rheinland- Pfalz
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Many Voices - many processes
New old conflict dynamics: Tasks for peace research
The Covid-19 crisis has far-reaching implications for core topics of peace research: overcoming multiple forms of violence, analysing current conflict lines and dynamics at different system levels, and identifying and outlining peace potentials.
In the current situation, this means drawing attention to less visible and marginalized conflicts – such as the massive impact of the pandemic on vulnerable groups in humanitarian crises,4 people in war and disaster zones, and refugees – but also identifying peace potentials and accompanying people in their current adaptation processes.
In the following, I would like to highlight two points that seem essential to me in this regard in the current situation due to the unpredictability of the pandemic and the interconnectedness of global processes: Accelerated in deceleration (I) and localization (II):
Process-oriented conflict work
‘Worldwork’, founded by Arnold Mindell, presents the interconnectedness of individual and societal dynamics as a conceptual foundation for working through areas of societal tension, and thus also for contemporary conflict situations.
The Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath can open up a new and expanded perspective on many aspects of our own lives as well as in relation to immediate social and world events. If we want to use the experience of the crisis to reshape society for the benefit of all, it is important to start now. An inclusive and participatory learning process helps to find goals and directions for positive ways of shaping human coexistence when old perspectives and conflictive structures no longer hold. In times of strong uncertainty and overload, however, people need the opportunity for forums of accompaniment and support.
In the phase of return from isolation, this means offering spaces for communication and relationships: in schools, at work, and in circles of friends. These resonant spaces, which open up for reorientation during the crisis, hold opportunities for collaborative growth and working through lived experiences in dialogue.
The process-oriented field perspective thereby clarifies further potential for insight and peace for the current crisis and especially for the aforementioned conflict dynamics:
First, the perspective sharpens conceptual awareness of all that is at work in the field and thereby helps shape the current processes of change. This includes not only the intertwining of individuals, collectives, and external events. It also takes into account that immediate external events that occur encounter pre-existing experiences and sensations that can sometimes break through habitual ways of living and thinking (primary processes) and trigger very deep processes.
Secondly, this interconnectedness shows that individual as well as collective processes hold transformation potentials for social systems of order. A strengthening global consciousness can be a common basic attitude in times of pandemic. This is characterized by the fact that not only one’s own processes are perceived, but also one’s own shares of individuals in world events are processed and reflected through an attention to the channels of relationship and world. It thus has potential for a global rethinking that can also have repercussions on the levels of structural and epistemic constellations of violence.
Even if the crisis causes different effects, individually as well as socially, and even if at the moment only tendencies can be identified where ‚the world‘ is heading after the crisis has been overcome, one thing is certain: the world is in progressive change. The only open question is whether we as individuals and as a society will let the process happen or take it into our own hands with courage.
This article was first published at https://www.friedensakademie-blog.eu/2020/10/05/covid-19-friedenspaedagogische-betrachtungen-des-transformationspotentials-eines-virus/ on 05.10.2020.
- BBC (6.4.2020): Coronavirus: The Queen’s message seen by 24 million. URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-52183327.
- For further information also see Friedensakademie Rheinland-Pfalz (2020): Fear for hunger not for COVID-19 in Kenya. URL: https://www.friedensakademie-blog.eu/2020/05/26/fear-for-hunger-not-for-covid-19-in-kenya/.
- Bethge, Philip (2020): „Und plötzlichen waren die Bagger da“. Heimliche Naturzerstörung in Corona-Zeiten. In: Der Spiegel, 05.06.2020. URL: https://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/naturzerstoerung-in-corona-zeiten-ploetzlich-waren-die-bagger-da-a-00000000-0002-0001-0000-000171426737.
- For further information also see Friedensakademie Rheinland-Pfalz (2020): COVID-19: Herausforderungen für humanitäre Hilfe, abgerufen unter:
- Die Rheinpfalz (3.5.2020): Landauer Konfliktforscher fordert: Umdenken, bitte! URL: https://www.rheinpfalz.de/politik_artikel,-landauer-konfliktforscher-fordert-umdenken-bitte-_arid,5060437.html.
- Arndt, Susan (2020): Das Ende der Überlegenheitsarie. Priviligien in Corona-Krise. In: taz, 21.4.2020. URL: https://taz.de/Privilegien-in-Corona-Krise/!5677150/.
- Reini Hauser: Worldwork, Konfliktarbeit und Spiritualität. In: Bewusstseins-Wissenschaften: Transpersonale Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 2/2015, 42-56, p. 46.
- Arnold Mindell (1991): Das Jahr eins. Ansätze zur Heilung unseres Planeten: Globale Prozessarbeit. Walter-Verlag: Olten und Freiburg im Breisgau, p. 202.
- Arnold Mindell (1991): Das Jahr eins. Ansätze zur Heilung unseres Planeten: Globale Prozessarbeit. Walter-Verlag: Olten und Freiburg im Breisgau, p. 201.
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