Education and Conflict: Complexity and Chaos

Education and Conflict: Complexity and Chaos

Education and Conflict: Complexity and Chaos

Education and Conflict: Complexity and Chaos

Synopsis

Education and Conflict is a critical review of education in an international context. Based on the author's extensive research and experience of education in several areas afflicted by conflict, the book explores the relationship between schooling and social conflict and looks at conflict internal to schools. It posits a direct link between the ethos of a school and the attitudes of future citizens towards 'others'. It also looks at the nature and purpose of peace education and war education, and addresses the role of gender and masculinity. In five lucid, vigorously argued sections, the author brings this thought-provoking and original piece of work to life by: * Setting out the terms of the debate, defining conflict and peace and outlining the relevant aspects of complexity theory for education * Exploring the sources of conflict and their relations to schooling in terms of gender/masculinity, pluralism, nationalism and identity * Focusing on the direct education/war interface * Examining educational responses to conflict * Highlighting conflict resolution within the school itself. This is the first time that so many aspects of conflict and education have been brought together in one sustained argument. With its crucial exposure of the currently culpable role of formal schooling in maintaining conflict, this book will be a powerful and essential read for educational policy makers, managers, teachers and researchers dealing with conflict in their own contexts.

Excerpt

There are no signs that the world is becoming a less conflictual place. Peace agreements are signed and conflict breaks out in another place, or resumes in the old one. The spread of international human rights conventions is barely able to contain the rise of various fundamentalisms, claiming rights to land as well as to ideology. Rewriting boundaries means new or resurgent ethnicities, and demands for recognition and autonomy. Violence against children may be legally prohibited in some countries, but domestic violence, school violence and child sexual abuse does not go away. Conflict is part of our lives, and it is difficult to foresee a time when there will not be a struggle for resources and when those seeking or maintaining power will not use some form of conflict in power interests. Highly 'educated' or qualified people have been responsible for major atrocities in recent human history-as with medical doctors in Nazi Germany as well as South Africa.

The nature of conflict is however shifting. As Eade points out, it is almost routine to begin the discussion of conflict-related emergencies by stating that contemporary wars are fought not on demarcated battlefields, but in the towns, villages and homes of ordinary people. Ninety per cent of today's war casualties are civilians and four out of five refugees and displaced persons are women and children. The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet bloc are thought to have intensified these trends and ushered in the New World Disorder (Eade 1996). Some 7 million children worldwide were either killed or injured by conflict over the last decade alone, and more than 10 million are still affected by the violence they have witnessed or participated in (Ecole et Paix 2001). Terrorism is claiming new victims and new martyrs, as well as generating the dangerous 'war on terror' heavily promoted by the USA.

Yet conflict resolution and prevention is grossly underfunded. In 2001 Britain was spending twenty times its contribution to OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) on continued military operations to 'contain' Saddam Hussein (Mathews 2001). NATO countries spend approximately $413 billion on 'defence', which is 215,000 times the OSCE budget. As Mathews points out, the result of such policies is that in conflict areas

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