Eastern Mennonite University

Narratives of Care: The Echo of Community Transformation

Dr. John Paul Lederach

Individuals and communities that must respond to protracted and violent conflict face an extraordinary range of challenges, many times circling around basic survival. While most of attachment research and theory has been applied to micro relational levels this session will explore what how attachment and conflict transformation link when responding to conflicts on a larger social scale in settings of deep-rooted conflict. Recent research emergent in these settings suggest constructive social change may in part be understood through nonlinear metaphoric structures that relate to what appear as intangibles yet “touch” and “move” us. In particular exploration of sound-as-metaphor provides a shift in how we experience and envision processes of constructive change. What if, at the level of social conflict and its transformation, attachment theory provided a “sound of love” — a narrative of social response that organizes the agency of care within, by and for violence affected communities thus creating social “echo” the vibration of intangible yet palpable human connections that move people from isolation to engagement, from division toward shared understandings? If social healing and reconciliation are not linear processes, then what might be the metaphors of directionality that provide us insight? These ideas will be explored through a variety of portals, including a Tibetan singing bowl and recent experiences with natural resource conflict transformation at the community level in Nepal. The author confesses to an evolving and experimental understanding of attachment theory, conflict transformation and the soundscape of love. You are cordially invited to join the confusion.