n African Journal on Conflict Resolution - A case for theory building in peace and conflict sensitivity - research

Volume 19 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1562-6997


For about a decade, numerous activities involving practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and scholars in peace and conf lict sensitivity (PCS) have led to an appreciable volume of scientific knowledge on the nature, dynamics and the implications of the interactions of interventions and their contexts. Thus, there is a relatively high level of development in the practice of PCS, but the level of development of theory for PCS is significantly low. This paper argues that the building blocks for developing theories of PCS abound. But disincentives also abound, and these may be found in the conditions that informed the emergence of the field, the inherited orientation and normative commitment of PCS, stakeholders’ justifiable preference for practice, and the epistemological contention between and among social science methodologies. Despite these encumbrances, there is a need to bridge the gap between theory and practice. This will require a concerted effort, employing both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, to construct and build context-specific and generalisable theories in PCS.

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