Between Idealism and Realism: Critical Peace Education in Divided Post-Conflict Contexts

Basma Hajir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper navigates through Critical Peace Education (CPE), a concept that emerged in response to criticisms of peace education as ‘politicised’, ‘propaganda’, ‘not objective’ and ‘lacking criticality’. CPE aims to develop students’ critical consciousness that would enable them to explore contradictions in their social, political and economic realm. It would also prepare them to act against these contradictions. This paper compares and contrasts theoretical grounds of CPE with three other approaches to education, namely Allport’s (1954) Contact Theory, Taylor’s (1994) Multiculturalism and Gallager’s (1996) ‘teaching contested narratives’. Building on the epistemological similarity between CPE and these three other approaches and given the scarcity of CPE application and evaluation (Bajaj, 2015), I find that scrutinising applications, evaluations and implications of these approaches in conflicted contexts must yield valuable insights to CPE. Accordingly, I explore two conflict/post conflict contexts, namely Rwanda and Palestine- Israel. I review relevant literature that examines and evaluates these approaches and I highlight three challenges to their application; ‘The power of the victor’, ‘identity accentuation’, ‘social transformation: The individual or structural asymmetry?’. The paper concludes with suggesting three parameters that are worth considering when conceptualising CPE: ‘Practicality’, ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Scalability’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-96
Number of pages17
JournalCambridge Educational Reseach e-Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


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