The Balance Between Analysis and Action

EDITORIAL, 25 Sep 2023

#815 | René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

21 September had been set by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace when, through meditation and action, we try to advance a culture of peace.  This September there were enough armed conflicts and areas of tension so that we did not have to search far for objects of study.  One aim of the day is to set out avenues for action.  There is a need to find a creative balance between analysis of conflictual situations and developing popular pressure for action.

Transcend Media Service is largely devoted to the analysis of conflictual situations, a diagnosis of the causes of tensions or open conflict.  Analysis is followed by what Johan Galtung in the book 50 Years, 100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives (Transcend University Press, 2008) calls “therapy”–massive programs in the culture of peace to create a new geo-political reality.

As Galtung writes,

“There will always be a hard nucleus of irreconcilables.  One approach is to work hard with women and youth less directly involved in the violence, surrounding the irreconcilables with an ocean of women-female conciliation.” 

There is also a need to introduce more future-directed discourses, a future with ways of handling conflict nonviolently.  To create such future-oriented discourse, the media can play a crucial role.

The issue which arises from analysis is how do we mobilize people to action.  Where do we find the ocean of women conciliators?  How are such people trained in a short enough time to have an impact on peacebuilding? How do we help keep such peacebuilding groups to stay together to continue their efforts as conflicts often reignite?

Action without analysis can lead to “mindless” action which much terrorism is.  However, analysis without follow up action can lead to frustration – the image of peace research being carried out in an “ivory tower”. The reflections of the Day of Peace need to continue, and avenues for action set out.


René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 Sep 2023.

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