Ways Out of Conflict: Resources for Community Relations Work

Duncan Morrow, Derick Wilson

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Abstract

WAYS OUT OF CONFLICT: Resources for Community Relations WorkTHE IMPORTANCE OF INFORMAL ADULT EDUCATION AND RECONCILIATIONThere are distinct limits to the ways in which the formal education system within an 'ethnic frontier' (Wright, 1987) can be expected to yield new forms of community relationships between people from mutually antagonistic traditions. Understandably, out of historical and present day fears, the formal educational systems within the frontier area are identified with the interests of the competing traditions and, primarily, reproduce their cultural values and beliefs. The task of cultural reproduction dominates the task of reconstruction. Reconstructing a society which is marked by trusting relationships and jointly owned and managed structures is desirable for the educator assisting change and growth in pupils, yet it is culturally difficult for them to do.It is unfair of the adult community to ask these professionals and children to solely undertake this task for adult society. (Wilson, 1994). However, there still may be an opportunity for new meetings, relationships and structures to develop in such areas. One such place is when adults choose to come together in informal education programmes and training, outside the formal statutory education system. Drawing on the experiences of "The Understanding Conflict ... and Finding Ways Out of it" project in Northern Ireland, (Morrow, 1991, pp 119-128) such meetings can occur when the initiative for successful experiments comes from the participants. Personal choice is the central element in developing informal education approaches. it stands in contrast to the legal requirements on pupils to attend the formal statutory education system and teachers to teach a required curriculum. It is possible when a base of reconciliation work (Wilson, 1994, op. cit.) has evolved within the situation. (Hinds, 1994)The central idea under examination here is whether people from the different traditions in Northern Ireland can meet together and speak together constructively about the themes which interest and effect them most in daily life. We are especially interested in examining ways in which the emotionally laden themes and fears around living in a contested place can be examined within mixed company. (Morrow, Wilson & Wright, 1994) Although directly focussed on Northern Ireland, the approach has been used with people from other societies. (Wilson, op. cit., 1994; & Understanding Conflict.... 1993, p 5)
Original languageEnglish
Publisher'Corrymeela Press'
Number of pages112
ISBN (Print)1 873739 10
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • Reconciliation
  • Informal Education
  • Community Relations
  • Ethnic Frontier Society
  • Meeting
  • Conflict resolution

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