What people believe matters. It matters, most crucially, to decisions about how to act. We all must make sense of
A list experiment is an effective research method for uncovering sensitive information, as its use suggests that sexual violence was much more prevalent during the Sri Lankan civil war (affecting about 13.4% of the population) than direct questioning would indicate (at 1.4% of the population).
Inside this issue, we examine research analyzing hundreds of civil war peace agreements that concludes that “complex” agreements are not necessarily better at keeping the peace than simpler ones. Next, we take a critical look at research on public support for military interventions and the motivations behind support for interventions conducted for “humanitarian” reasons. Third, through examining civics textbooks in Sri Lanka in the context of global peace education efforts, we consider how specific omissions and emphases in these textbooks have served the government’s goals, while failing to address the injustice and inequality still plaguing post-war Sri Lanka. Next, we discuss research finding that the primary peacekeeping tasks associated with preventing violence and protecting civilians can be effectively undertaken by unarmed peacekeepers, who are, furthermore, often able to address some of the shortcomings of their armed counterparts. Finally, the last analysis reflects on possible reasons for why past attempts at peace in South Sudan have failed, calling for more psycho-sociologically informed conflict interventions in the future.
While Sri Lankan civics textbooks affirm global norms around peace and citizenship education in the abstract, they also simultaneously contradict and/or undermine these in various ways in service of the government’s agenda.