In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Peacebuilding and Communication

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Communication for Development in Peacebuilding

Communication Peacebuilding and Communication
Valentina Baú
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 October 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0251


As a result of its interdisciplinarity, that of peacebuilding and communication is an exceptionally diverse field, which encompasses many stimulating and creative subfields. Differences and similarities between them are grounded in the combination of theoretical frameworks that are adopted, and which become the backbone for both research and practice. Some of these areas are still emerging scholarships, with a need to integrate more consistently existing practical experiences with conceptual models developed through exploratory methods. The applied nature of peacebuilding and communication makes the grey literature in this field, comprising nongovernmental organizations’ (NGO) reports and publications from other nonacademic actors, also noteworthy. Research in this area borrows from media studies, development studies, peace and conflict studies, sociology, psychology, and technology studies. With such diversity in mind, the sections want to be representative of the exciting landscape that this field embodies.

General Overviews

This section offers an overview of the different ways in which the peacebuilding role of communication has been recognized and discussed, both by scholars and by those directly involved in field-based work. Neumann and Emmer 2012, Hoffman 2014, and Mitra 2015 theorize the concept of communication for peace. Servaes and Malikhao 2012 focuses on the importance of the advocacy function of communication in contributing to peace. Fortune and Bloh 2008, nongovernmental organization (NGO) Search for Common Ground 2014, and Simbulan and Visser 2016 introduce practical methods and examples in which communication itself has been adopted as a methodology for the promotion of peace.

  • Fortune, Frances, and Oscar Bloh. 2008. Strategic communication: The heart of post-conflict processes. Conflict Trends 2:17–24.

    This article highlights the value of strategic communication in making development and governance decision-making processes more diverse and representative of all groups. In post-conflict contexts, citizens’ expectations need to be managed adequately. Strategic communication offers a channel to do so effectively.

  • Hoffman, Julia. 2014. Conceptualising “communication for peace. Peacebuilding 2.1: 100–117.

    Through an exploration of existing research streams, this article argues for the development of a multidisciplinary research agenda to enhance our understanding and critical assessment of the role of communication in peacebuilding. Taking communication for development (C4D) as an initial basis, the concept of communication for peace (C4P) is then expounded.

  • Mitra, Saumava. 2015. Communication and peace: Understanding the nature of texts as a way to resolve conceptual differences in the emerging field. Global Media and Communication 11.3: 303–316.

    This article discusses the commonalities that exist between the eclectic field of communication and that of peacebuilding. It also categorizes communication disciplines based on their close relationship with peacebuilding, with the aim of drawing together the concepts of communication and peace.

  • Neumann, Hannah, and Martin Emmer. 2012. Peace communication: Building a local culture of peace through communication. In Forming a culture of peace: Reframing narratives of intergroup relations, equity, and justice. Edited by Karina V. Korostelina, 227–254. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    The authors of this chapter advance the claim that, in post-ethnic conflict realities, communication activities implemented at the local level are more successful than military, diplomatic, and humanitarian efforts, which typically neglect the crucial role of local actors. A communication-based approach to peacebuilding, focused on Habermas’s theory of communicative action, is developed.

  • Search for Common Ground. 2014. Communication for peacebuilding: Practices, trends and challenges. Washington, DC: Search for Common Ground.

    This report attempts to define the field of Communication for Peacebuilding and introduces its trends and challenges. It does so through a discussion of different communication-based activities implemented by NGOs, UN agencies, governmental organizations, and even the private sector, which aim to promote post-conflict peacebuilding.

  • Servaes, Jan, and Patchanee Malikhao. 2012. Advocacy communication for peacebuilding. Development in Practice 22.2: 229–243.

    The authors of this article undertake an assessment of the role of advocacy communication in peacebuilding, based on its impact on policymaking and journalist reporting.

  • Simbulan, Karen P., and Laurens J. Visser. 2016. The value of listening to community voices: A peacebuilding approach to armed social violence. In “Undeclared wars”: Exploring a peacebuilding approach to armed social violence. Edited by Barbara Unger, Véronique Dudouet, Matteo Dressler, and Beatrix Austin, 61–68. Berghof Handbook Dialogue Series 12. Berlin: Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management.

    The Listening Methodology (LM) introduced in this work is presented as a communication-driven conflict transformation tool, which is useful in informing peacebuilding interventions. It allows to understand conflict dynamics more deeply, and to subsequently formulate targeted policies. It also allows opposing groups to learn about different perspectives from those affected by the conflict and recognizes the importance of everyone’s views.

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