Human beings often dispute over various issues in different dimensions of their lives. This situation arises as a result of lack of agreement or consensus regarding a particular matter or sometimes when one party intrudes on the private rights of another. Arts and popular culture scene provide a mechanism for peace building, social tolerance and cohesion. The world that we live in is not devoid of conflict. Arts and popular culture provides a creative avenue through which various conflicts can be resolved. These comprise of present collective preferences in portraits, dances, music, film, sports, and fashion, among many others. These preferences are influenced greatly by the media through the use of mass media. The expressive and creative parts of individuals provide an essential source of peace-bringing tendencies that are not always possible in the formalized processes of resolving conflict. However, before elucidating on the role of art and popular culture on peace-building, the concepts of art and popular culture, conflict and peace must be properly understood.
The general objective of this research term paper is to find out the effectiveness of art and popular culture tools that are used in conflict resolution. The specific questions that will be addressed this term paper are:
- What are some of the tools of conflict resolution in arts and popular culture?
- How do they impact on peace building around the globe?
- Does their effectiveness depend on other formalized conflict resolution processes?
This research term paper intends to test if the use of art and culture is an effective means of conflict resolution. In order to ascertain this, the following things are tested:
- The effectiveness of using art collections in peace museums
- The role of music in creating awareness about peace
- The success of theatre acts in articulating the importance of peaceful conflict resolution
Whilst it is important to embrace the role played by the pre-existing politically structured peace-building mechanisms, the role that the creativity and imagination of individuals through art and popular culture is also vital. The liberation of creativity and imagination is as emancipating in the conflict resolution process as is the more formal analytical or cognitive method that dominates in the political scene. Culture in peace-building relies greatly on the value and attitude adjustment of making peace, and many of the programs that use culture are related to the creation of awareness through education. It is also the situation on the ground that a provision for the improvement of education and educational resources is increasingly becoming an element of peace pacts. It is important for researchers to acknowledge the importance of building institutions that take care of initiatives to foster peace among the people. However, it is also important to embrace the role of human creativity, desire and imagination in the establishment of a civic culture that applies throughout the globe.
Art and popular culture often act as a cushion or platform for peace. When the conflicting factions of people are confrontational, and have thus unable to communicate effectively, elements of art and popular culture can be used to provide a neutral ground for them to meet, communicate and interact. According to Lederach (2005:21), art and peace are simultaneously entangled in the battle between intellect and emotions. Life brings together the dualisms that have been separated by the inability to abide to reason because of being overwhelmed by emotions. Art and popular culture help to overcome the imbalance that exists due to the conflict of interest between the heart and the brain.
Some of the activities that create the necessary platforms consist of classical music concerts, football and soccer games, theatrical acts, art galleries among other activities. Visual arts comprises of images that can be used to make people to appreciate the importance of peaceful conflict resolution. Portraits, photographs and other images showing the outcome of the inability to solve conflicts through non-violent means of have been used to encourage peace initiatives. In the words of Boon and Plastow (2004:1), ‘theatre, in a variety of forms and contexts, can make, and indeed has made, positive political and social interventions in a range of developing cultures across the world’.
In summation, it is essential that non-formalized mechanisms of conflict resolution are developed to complement the existing formalized processes. Art and popular culture, while they provide entertainment to people, are very effective means of resolving some of the conflicts that people face in the society. This is because the use of art and popular culture offers a venue through which people can connect with the voice of reason in a more relaxing environment. This is because art and popular culture have a way of articulating issues affecting the society in an artistic manner that appeals to their audience. Notwithstanding, art and popular culture is an effective way of fostering peace among conflicting parties.
Appleyard, Bryan. The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain. London: Faber, 1989. Print.
Boon, Richard, and Jane Plastow. Theatre and Empowerment: Community Drama on the World Stage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.
Fisher, Erik A, and Steven W. Sharp. The Art of Managing Everyday Conflict: Understanding Emotions and Power Struggles. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2004. Print.
Haugen, David M, and Susan Musser. Popular Culture. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2011. Print.
Lederach, John P. The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.