EUNIC Yearbook 2012/2013 Culture Report – Culture and Conflict

Culture and conflict: challenges for Europe’s foreign policy

published by: EUNIC, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and the Robert Bosch Foundation, in coop. with the British Council, the French Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. – Stuttgart: ifa, 2013. – 236 S. – (Culture report; Vol. 5) (EUNIC yearbook; 2012/2013).

Although a painting can never stop a bullet, a painting can stop a bullet from being fired. Culture is a central component of conflicts between different groups and ethnicities. So what could be more appropriate than using culture as a tool for conflict resolution? After centuries of war, Europe has particular experience in how to create peaceful and cooperative ways of co-existing. What kinds of external cultural policies does Europe need to embrace that will allow art, education and intercultural dialogue to open doors and build trust between communities – and help prevent conflicts around the globe?

Kramer, Ernstbrunner, Graf contribute the chapter “Signification spirals and moral imagination” to the yearbook.  It exposes the problems of the current thinking of culture as a domain social reality in approaches of conflict transformation and peace-building. Culture, it is put forward, can be the missing link between the adversaries of structure and the power to act. It is one dimension of social reality that enables us to understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of human conduct. It is a weighty element of social practices, which are in fact always coloured by culture. It is important that this potential is used in conflict management.

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