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Projecting Our Fantasies
Submitted by christophercinco on September 28, 2008 - 5:18pm.
In one country in post-conflict, a government agency recently put on a concert of dancers who did a performance entitled "dancing for peace." This dance was similar to their commercial performances but only was sponsored by a conflict resolution project.
I believe that such instances are very nice and cute but really produce no impact. Who, when faced with a threat to their community, decides not to engage in violence because they saw a dance performance?
I believe that such instances are us, with our donor money, projecting our fantasies onto these societies. We have money, we like the idea, and we do such projects. All the while, there is no empirical data, no M&E, no research to confirm that watching a dance reduces the impulse to violence among the population. Also, I would venture to guess that if you asked poor people in that country what they need, watching a dance performance would not be among the most common responses.
Is this what all conflict resolution work is like? Is there any evidence that such "cute" projects actually produce change?
Tags: Conflict Resolution