Laughing our Way to Peace or War: Humour and Peacebuilding

CONFLICT RESOLUTION - MEDIATION, TRANSCEND MEMBERS, ACADEMIA-KNOWLEDGE-SCHOLARSHIP, 6 Dec 2010

Craig Zelizer – Journal of Conflictology

Abstract

In conflict-affected societies, humour has significant potential to contribute to the escalation or reduction of conflicts. This paper provides a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the social role of humour in conflicted societies, drawing on literature from social psychology, health and conflict resolution. The paper offers an analytical model regarding the role of humour in peacebuilding in divided societies, as well as documenting several examples of the application of humour and the opportunities and challenges to using humour in societies in conflict. Concrete roles that humour can play are discussed, including as a tool to cope with violent conflict, humanizing or dehumanizing the other, bridge builder, mobiliser, etc. Avenues for future research are also outlined.

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Craig Zelizer is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment.

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