Dialogue as a tool in peacebuilding. Theoretical and empirical perspectives.
The thesis discusses dialogue as a tool in peacebuilding. The problem statement raises the need for knowledge of what dialogue is, competence in how to employ dialogue and adherence to the use of dialogue, for it to be a tool in peacebuilding. Through the ontological position of constructivism, I argue for a reconstruction of the term dialogue. The thesis aims to develop on a theoretical framework for defining dialogue. Dialogue is defined as a form of communication with the goal to understand the other. To inform and challenge the definition of dialogue, I collected empirical data from dialogue experts in Norway and data from the United Nations. Based on the data, I discuss dialogue as an attitude and a culture in the analysis. Further, the analysis discuss requirements, limitations and effects of dialogue. The thesis argues that change and cooperation are possible effects of dialogue, rather than integral parts of dialogue as a form of communication. I present Bernstein’s theory of framing as a measure to analyse dialogue as a tool in peacebuilding. Strong framing regulates ‘what can be said’, ‘where’ and ‘by whom’ and is thus a limitation for dialogue. Through Jakobson’s model of communication, I argue that dialogue attributes different meaning to the functions in language than other forms of communication. Dialogue has an emotive and relational function, including context, feelings and the whole person when understanding the other. Through Lotman’s theory on semiosphere, I inform that dialogue is an exchange of information, requiring both difference and similarities. Codes translate the information from the contexts of the sender and the receiver. Drawing on Lotman’s theory, I argue that there is a difference between translation and interpretation. Addressing hermeneutics, I argue that there is a difference between interpretation of text and interpretation in dialogue, drawing on Gadamer. Further, drawing on Habermas, I argue that interpretation is inhibiting in dialogue as I have the possibility to ask question to the subject. Peacebuilding is defined through Galtung and Lederach. Drawing on Smith’s pallet of peacebuilding, dialogue is defined as an integral part of peacebuilding. I argue that it is due to the goal of dialogue as understanding that dialogue can be a tool in peacebuilding. Understanding builds relations and can have positive effects. I take a critical view of dialogue used to achieve other goals, as a misuse of the term. Dialogue is thus a tool for understanding, which can be used as a tool in peacebuilding. Dialogue can be a sustainable tool in peacebuilding as it can contribute to adaptability, as defined by Lederach. The thesis further argues that the United Nations has a low visibility of their work and definition of dialogue.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
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