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School of Intercultural Education, Human Rights and Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts

The eighth lecture within the project realized with the assistance of OSCE and
in cooperation with the Faculty of Philosophy, Novi Sad University

November 12, 2011

"Peace and Conflict; Preconditions for Conflict: Psychological, Cultural and Social" (Lecturer: Prof. Dragan Popadic)

Everything that happens is seen as inevitable when ideology has its finger in developments. Interethnic violence derives from mutual enmity, which, in turn results from fear, bias and stereotypes. These are the categories generating ethnic distance.

Interestingly, the former Yugoslavia was a model country of a very low ethnic distance, the lowest being in Bosnia with its biggest number of ethnically mixed marriages. But low ethnic distance was not a guarantee against conflicts escalating into wars in the territory of ex-Yugoslavia.

Findings of surveys conducted among Serb and Albanian population indicate that each of the two communities hold its own people in high esteem and that both of them have identically negative stands and stereotypes about the other. This phenomenon is known as "the mirror image phenomenon."


Some questions and comments by students:

1. All democratic states are threats to humanity.

2. Do you believe there would be no more conflicts in democratic societies one fine day?

3. Do you think a human being is basically a violent creature?


"We and Them; Group (Ethnic) Conflicts and Pacification Procedures" (Lecturer: Tamara Tomasevic)

What is identity? What is it that determines us? Should, say, a "demon" let you keep just one of our identities and take away the rest, what identity would you keep? Would it be your professionalism, parenthood, familial ties, ethnic origin, religion or education? It's hard to choose only one trait determining your person because, as human beings, we are characterized by many identities. What is it other people would not let us do or be? Is it possible to deny one his or her gender or origin or religion that differs from others? Can others deny you the language you speak that differs from theirs?

What is discrimination and what are its origins? Discrimination stands for a departure from norms a society sees either as welcome or unwelcome. Bias and stereotypes about others give rise to discrimination. Discrimination can lead to social problems that are by far more serious than exclusion of an individual departing from mainstream behavior or norms. Gossip about a group of people or an individual is the first stage of a conflict. Then comes this group's or individual's exclusion or avoidance. Discrimination on the grounds of which a group or an individual are deprived of some rights in the next stage that leads towards a conflict between "them and us." In its most brutal form a conflict leads to genocide.



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