Conflict, culture and Communication. Our Conceptual Imagination

Peter Praxmarer, professor at the University of Lugavo started his lecture “Conflict, culture and Communication. Our conceptual Imagination” with some interesting questions everyone aiming to study peace and conflicts  should take into account:

Why them and not us?
Why do we want to help? Why should we?
Do the people want to be helped?
What is the role of culture and intercultural communication?

I believe all this work is motivated by justice and peace, two rights that every person should have. I belief working on this field is working on humanity, understanding it as my new friend Ayman Qatar, palestine from Gaza Strip, does: ” Humanity should be considered as the feeling to understand and share the feelings of all humans around the world”.

Deconstruction of concepts.
Mr. Praxmarer argue that we should started by assuming that everyone is the same. Although he might wanted to say that we should see each other as equals, it is something that does not happend in reality as we are all different and our personality and knowledge are important factors not only in the way we communicate, but also in the way we interact with people that are different. Our differences creates different ways of interaction. In addition, difference is a rich component of the communication. Although, many times it may be the cause of so much conflicts, it is not the differences that actually origins it but the assumption of jerarquies between the differences.

Praxmarer referered to this talking about the deconstrucction of the concepts. In Western countries, it is usually to have a perception of superiority above other countries from the South and East. A superiority that it is based on ignorance and proudness motivated by the action of the medias and the ethnocentricity of western societies.

At the end of the lecture, Sam, from the Philippines,  lauched an interest reflexion about deconstructing concepts. She stated that for her it was difficult to recognize the limits of deconstruction; finding a frontier for everything, finding the rules to make a theory work is something that  we need. In my case, although I realized that there are “many exception to the rules”, many times I made the mistake of  simplifying the situation, conflict and problems in a theory in order to work it easily and understand the situation better. However, maybe we should also deconstructed this way of understanding conflicts. People tend to talk about Africa and their conflicts there as a same issue without regarding the diversity of Africa, not only in matters of history but also of culture, religions and economy.

Models are important to understand the world and to try to change it. However, try to implement a same practice in different places can end in a difficult and maybe worst situation than the starting point. So, frontiers, rules, limits? Why there should be a rule to construct or deconstruct concept If we are precisely talking about deconstructing the codes we learned. Probably, the solution to these answer can be found in Lederach’s book ” Moral Imagination. The Art and Soul of Building Peace” where the author makes a beautiful explanation of how to transform violence and conflict with imagination, fantasy and arts. I am starting to read this book and for the moment I can only admire his beautiful capacity of connecting art, philosophy and peace.


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