JTPP Vol. 2, No. 1 (July 2019) Article # 7


Deals with the human costs of social conflict on institutions, communities and the public good which seems to be slowly eroding


(Re)Claiming Human Dignity

Amanda Smith Byron (Associate Professor in Conflict Resolution at Portland State University, USA)

The field of Peace and Justice Studies is focused on the social and political transformations that are necessary to increase the peace, which are traditionally explored within the practice of peacebuilding.

Building upon the work of Donna Hicks (2011) and other scholars, this paper seeks a better understanding of the role human dignity plays in the conflict resolution process of peacebuilding. Consideration is given to how the presence of human dignity fosters peace, and how the absence of dignity contributes to the human costs of conflict. Liberal peacebuilding is critiqued as lacking a mechanism with which to address dignity, and humanitarian peacebuilding and human security peacebuilding are considered as a more likely means for (re)claiming dignity.

Weaving in the literature of storytelling as a social change mechanism that can be used to increase the experience of dignity, this paper recognises the importance of engaging dignity as a vital component in peaceful process, and as a necessary ingredient for achieving peaceful ends.

A test case study is offered to illustrate the ideas and theories presented in the paper, and to build a new model for understanding the steps to (re)claiming dignity in the aftermath of atrocity.

Honourable Association