Mistaking Politics for Governance: Interim Arrangements in Sri Lanka 2002 – 2005
- Rainford, Charan, Ambika Satkunanathan
- Colombo: ICES (forthcoming).
The Berghof Dialogue Series is an offshoot of the Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation. Each topic in the series is chosen because it is particularly relevant to societies in conflict and the practice of conflict transformation, and because it raises important issues at the present time. In each dialogue, practitioners and scholars critically engage and debate in light of their experience. Typically, a Dialogue includes one lead article from key experts, and four commentaries from practitioners and others. Rather than presenting a single analysis, these practitioner-scholar dialogues stimulate debate, integrating different perspectives, challenging prevailing views, comparing research findings with experiences and insights on the ground. Importantly, Dialogues, as works of broad relevance, are also distributed in print version. We invite readers to respond to the papers (as to all articles). Interesting and original contributions can be added to the web version of the Dialogue. Does integrating systemic thinking into conflict transformation strategies contribute to a better understanding of the non-linear development of complex conflict situations and peace processes? In concrete terms, what is, for example, the added value of including feedback loops in conflict analysis methodologies? Is the tetralemma – a concept used in systemic constellation work in the context of family therapy or organisational development – helpful when it comes to visualising the complexity of protracted conflicts? Both the Berghof Research Center and the Berghof Foundation for Peace Support (BFPS) have been puzzling over questions like these for a while. In 2005, BFPS published the study The Systemic Approach to Conflict Transformation as a first attempt to spell out its understanding of systemic thinking and to start investigating to what extent the application of systemic concepts and instruments proved to be useful for peacebuilding strategies (Wils et al. 2006). As highlighted in this study, the integration of systemic thinking promised an inspiring potential to develop further existing approaches and to enrich the current debate on how to develop adequate approaches to transforming violent conflicts. Therefore, we decided to initiate several follow-up projects, which focus on the further exploration and development of a systemic approach to conflict transformation, such as two international expert workshops, 1 an edited volume on systemic thinking and conflict transformation, to be published in 2009, and this current issue of the Berghof Handbook Dialogue Series, A Systemic Approach to Conflict Transformation. Exploring Strengths and Limitations.