Psychology of war and peace

Study level: Graduate study programme in psychology
Lecturers: Dinka Čorkalo Biruški, Ph.D.
Language: Croatian
Status: elective
Form of instruction with class hours: 30 hours of lectures, 15 hours of seminars
Prerequisites: none
Student evaluation: Written exam

Course description

Basic concepts of peace psychology: positive and negative peace. Peace studies. Peace movements. Peace education. Violence against minority groups and hate crimes. Theories of hate. War as an ultimate form of violence. Image of the enemy: dehumanization, infrahumanization, and diabolization of enemy. Ideological formation of an enemy image. Nationalism and war. Sociopsychological dynamics of mobilization for war. War and genocide/democide: perpetrators, bystanders and savors. „Banality of evil“ and  „banality of heroism“. "Altruism born of suffering“. Peace strategies and peace maintenance. Models of peace building. Building and development of trust. Basic concepts and controversies of intergroup reconciliation. Apology and forgiveness. Group based emotions after conflict: collective guilt and shame. Transitional justice and strategies of reconciliation. Individual and sociopsychological functions of war-crimes tribunals. Just peace and reparations. Collective traumatization, collective victimization, transgenerational transmission and perpetuation of conflict. Commemorations, collective memory and collective forgetting. Culture of peace and prevention of intergroup violence. Peace education and human rights.

Course objectives and expected competences

After completing the course students will be able to explain sociopsychological dynamics of war and distinguish between positive and negative peace. They will be able to analyze elements that may be considered as contextual risks for instigating intergroup conflicts and be able to work on appeasing tensions. The students will understand dynamics of conflict de-escalation and variety of post-conflict processes. They will be able to explain sociopsychological processes that are useful in peace building. The students will understand importance of justice in building and maintaining peace, in conflict prevention and in breaking up a cycle of violence.

Required readings

Ajduković, D. (2003). Socijalna rekonstrukcija zajednice. U: D. Ajduković (Ur.) Socijalna rekonstrukcija zajednice: psihološki procesi, rješavanje sukoba i socijalna akcija, Zagreb: Društvo za psihološku pomoć, str. 11-39.
Ajduković, D. (2004). Social contexts of traumatization and healing. Medicine, Conflict and survival, 20 (2), 120-135.
Bloomfield, D., Barnes, T. & Huyse. L. (2005). Reconciliation after violent conflict: A handbook. Stockholm: Idea. pp 10-49; 97-161
Čorkalo Biruški, D. i Ajduković, D. (2009). Od dekonstrukcije do rekonstrukcije traumatizirane zajednice: primjer Vukovara. Revija za socijalnu politiku, 16 (1), 1-24.
Esses, V. M. & Vernon, R. A. (Eds.) (2008). Explaining the breakdown of ethnic relations: Why neighbors kill. Malden: Blackwell. (Odabrana poglavlja)
Kaufman, S. J. (2001). Modern hatreds. The symbolic politics of ethnic war. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. Ch. 1 (Stories of ethnic war) & ch. 2. (The symbolic politics of ethnic war). pp. 1-47.
MacNair, R. M. (2003). The Psychology of peace: An Introduction (Psychological Dimensions to War and Peace). Praeger. pp 1-133.

Recommended readings
Barkan, E. (2000). The guilt of nations: Restitution and negotiating historical injustices. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.
Cairns, E. & Roe, M. D. (Eds). The role of memory in ethnic conflict. Palgrave Macmillan. Part IV (Conflicting memories & conflict resolution). pp. 105-180.
Čorkalo, D. (2002). Peace education in New Democracies: A case of Croatia. In: G. Salomon and B. Nevo (Eds.). Peace education around the world: The concept, underlying principles, the practice and the research. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Lederach, J. P. (1995). Preparing for peace. Conflict transformatioin across cultures. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
Long, W. J. & Brecke. P. (2003). War and reconciliation: Reason and emotion in conflict resolution. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Salomon, G. (2009). Recent research findings by the Center for research on peace education. University of Haifa, CERPE.