Source: (2005) Project paper submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosphy with a concentration in Arts and Sciences and a specialization in Peace Studies. Cincinnati, Ohio: Union Institute and University.
The title and question guiding this inquiry is: “Invoking the moral imagination: What can dialogue between social healing practitioners reveal about how compassion arises in the process of social healing?” The impetus for this study has evolved from my decades as a social healing practitioner, and a deep respect for the courage and moral imagination of my colleagues who have been steadily persevering in attempts to build bridges between those alienated by conflict, violence and dehumanization. As such, this study is designed to benefit the field of practice by offering a conceptual framework of how compassion arises in the process of social healing. Grounded in the premises of connected and participatory knowing, the study utilizes a three-day dialogue between twenty-five international peacebuilders in September 2002 as the means for data collection. The results of this inquiry illustrate that consistent themes have emerged from peacebuilding practice, even as they did in the dialogue itself, which point to compassion’s role and potential in healing ruptured relationships by establishing broader identity parameters and allowing for an experience of common humanity. This inquiry fits into an emerging trend in the field of peace studies, which I have termed social healing. The social healing paradigm uses a relational lens through which to view conflict transformation and peacebuilding. It addresses the ways in which people and groups have been harmed through structural and direct violence, and seeks to discover the means to heal the destructive psychological and social consequences of that wounding. It is the informing paradigm for the fields of transitional justice, restorative justice and reconciliation. (author’s abstract)
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