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Improvisation, Peace, and Justice

Tracey Nicholls

Published: 2010-06-30

This article applies improvisation theory to peace studies. In doing so, it suggests that conflict resolution strategies that stress inclusivity and responsive listening, and attempt to include all points of view, may open up improvised pathways toward peace. At the same time, the author argues that improvisation's commitments to negotiation and formal revision will provide a better guarantee of just outcomes. The discussion is made more concrete by applying these principles to recent historical examples, particularly the Irish peace accords and the international community's response to the 2006 Hamas win in the legislative elections in Gaza.

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Listening itself, an improvisative act engaged in by everyone, announces a practice of active engagement with the world, where we sift, interpret, store and forget, in parallel with action and fundamentally articulated with it ("Mobilitas Animi" 113).

– George E. Lewis