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Conflicts and peace

The Centre for Applied Ethics analyses the social processes that contribute to the delegitimisation of violence and the construction of sustainable cultures of peace.


¿ What does the ethical perspective bring to the construction of cultures of peace?

The Center for Applied Ethics studies social conflicts, especially those that are politically motivated and are expressed violently. Conflict is inherent in the coexistence of people and groups, but the ethical perspective adopted by the CAE emphasises that there are ways of managing them that are constructive or destructive, inclusive or exclusive. Therefore, although violence may be socially normalised, it is neither inevitable nor desirable. On the contrary, it is deeply unfair.

Therefore, the Conflict and Peace research team analyses social processes that contribute to the denormalisation and delegitimisation of violence and to the construction of sustainable cultures of peace. To this end, it studies the role played by different actors, the victims of violence themselves, ex-militants of armed groups who have renounced the use of violence, pacifist sectors, citizens in general, political authorities, media, and teachers.

The team has carried out research in places such as the Basque Country, Colombia, Mexico, Serbia and El Salvador. Their work takes an interdisciplinary approach where applied ethics, political philosophy, political sociology, social and cultural anthropology, cognitive and discursive psychology, and education converge.

The gender perspective they progressively incorporate into their work represents a cross-cutting axis of interdisciplinary contrast.

Their projects revolve around two main themes:

  • Social processes of legitimisation and delegitimisation of violence. The team analyses, on the one hand, violence itself, the role that different actors play in its exercise and the social discourses that are constructed to justify it. It also examines the social and political processes that contribute to its delegitimisation. The work focuses on understanding and supporting the prominence of victims and people who have renounced the use of violence. This, in turn, leads to addressing issues such as truth, memory, justice, repentance, forgiveness, coexistence and reconciliation.
  • Critical teaching methods for the construction of cultures of peace. The projects study the contributions that historical, civic, and peace education can make to the promotion of critical understanding of violence in society. They take into account the educational and teaching approaches of schools and universities, as well as those of non-formal spaces such as museums or social movement initiatives.