Dr. Adil Qureshi, Servei de Psiquiatria of Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron has given permission for his reflection to be posted here. Thank you, Adil. Peacebuilding is a critical topic in our 21st century world~ at the interpersonal, community, national and global levels.
A friend was telling me about a peacebuilding initiative that makes use of theatre to bring people from opposing sides together and begin to see each other as fellow humans rather than members of that “other” group.
One of the questions I was left with was the place of power and privilege in this sort of work. Specifically, can we effectively bridge these distances and conflicts without overtly addressing institutionally derived power and privilege?
It seems that from Allport’s contact hypothesis it is not necessary, possibly even detrimental.From other perspectives it would seem to be the opposite.
And I note that I hesitate to try to exemplify this with concrete examples, fearing that it would offend certain people. If I am a member of an oppressed group, it is all very nice to connect with someone from the dominant group at a human level, but I know that when we walk out of there we return to a social order in which the other has that power and privilege and I do not.
Any thoughts or experiences?