The 200-year present: Trauma and Conflict Transformation

Elise Boulding, a founding mother of Peace and Conflict Studies, suggests that in order to understand the potentials for transforming protracted conflicts, we need to think about ourselves as relational
beings. According to this theory we are connected horizontally, with other members of society, as well as vertically, with other generations. Who we are and how we choose to act in a given moment is, in some ways, conditioned by the generations before us and in turn will also impact the generations that will come after us. This is what Boulding refers to as the “200-year present”.

Experiences with violent conflict, particularly when they are traumatizing, can shatter worlds fundamentally. Trauma is a wide-ranging topic that plays a substantial role in conflict transformation. It can be a consequence of directly or indirectly experienced physical or psychological violence, transferred from past generations, and it can be transmitted as early as in the mother’s womb. These experiences can be rooted within families, communities or societies. They may include a wide range of topics, such as the sudden loss of beloved ones, sexual violence or wars. After such experiences it may require the continuous effort of generations to explore new courses of action in dysfunctional relations and to integrate traumatic experiences step by step.

The Many Peaces Magazine is calling for contributions for its Volume 11, which explores the topic of The 200-year present: Trauma and Transgenerational Conflict Transformation. Submit your proposal for articles to by the 1st of September 2019.

Image Sources:

  • Black and White vs Peace Journalism: Photo by on Unsplash
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