Post-conflict regions can get stuck between returning to violence and moving fully into positive peace. In May, 2016, MI5 (the UK domestic security agency) increased the security threat level from moderate to substantial for Northern Ireland (NI) related terrorism. For over two years we have been partnership building in post-conflict NI to produce a plan for developing an evidence-based integrative complexity resource for NI secondary schools. Integrative complexity interventions have been shown effective at increasing capacities in a range of contexts, on different conflicts and extremisms, with diverse population samples (evaluated using the cross-culturally validated integrative complexity measurement frame). Based on over forty years of research, integrative complexity measures assess how we think about our social world, from rapid, inflexible, closed thinking toward more deliberate, flexible, open thinking about our own and opposed groups. The latter predicts more peaceful outcomes to conflict. This research plan has the most rigorous and systematic empirical design to date, to advance the theory and method of integrative complexity science in partnership with end-users for promoting capacities to live well with difference and disagreement. The findings will benefit NI and other post-conflict regions struggling to overcome legacies of violence.
- Civil affairs
- Civil war and internal conflict
- National security
- Peace studies
- Religious violence