Peacebuilding and communication: ‘We Are Many: Hybrid Resistance to Absolute Singularity’

Of all the different reactions to difference two distinct possibilities emerge like forking paths after encountering the unknown. The first is fascination, stimulating curiosity and a catalyst for learning and appreciating those who are not like us. The second path however is fear, triggered by initial uncertainty, often emotionally stirred up by myths about ‘the other’ and potentially escalating into hate and anger. While a singular conception of identity may seem to offer safety and security it can also shut down perspectives, sending us further down the path of fear. How then can embracing hybridity open up to us that first path which is conducive to the practices of peacebuilding? Furthermore how can we best communicate such hybridity? I’ll be referencing two community relations approaches— single identity work (SIW) and contact hypothesis—as a summation of this contrast. Although this comparison will be situated in the context of my current research (Northern Ireland) the core argument bears relevance to other post-conflict societies.

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