Theory and Practice
Ross Ryan

Of the several changes we have made for this Spring 2009 issue, perhaps the most significant is the creation of a full pdf copy available here. This has allowed us to standardize certain key elements across the journal, especially pagination. Feel free to download a copy, save it, and send it along to your contacts – we are fully committed to the principles of open access and collaborative scholarship. 

Like all interdisciplinary fields, peace and conflict studies is characterized by the interplay of theoretical perspectives and academic conventions  -- the overall effect of which, we hope, is a dialogue unconstrained by the traditional boundaries of academia, flexible enough to forward meaningful analyses for the practical improvement of human society through peace and justice. In addition, the point of intersection between theory and practice has become particularly important to the field, and to the work we do at the University for Peace, as theoretical discussions between disciplines are increasingly tested and developed by the work of peace practitioners.       

Our Spring 2009 issue of the Peace and Conflict Review reflects this growing interaction between theorists and practitioners, addressing philosophical issues of methodology and socio-political analysis as well as practical ways for protecting human rights and facilitating sustainable and equitable development. 

Eric Brahm’s conceptual review of Truth Commissions, described as a “brush clearing contribution to the field” by one reviewer, is a theoretical piece written with an ease and accessibility that is rare among legal scholars. To this effect, Brahm’s article offers a thoughtful discussion of the confusion around various processes claiming to be “truth commissions”, the interests behind such claims, and some helpful suggestions for clarifying scholarship on the issue.


Continuing the legal discussion, and addressing specific questions about how national legislation can be used to pursue justice beyond national boundaries and the responsibilities on states imposed by international law, Craig Brannagan presents a tightly researched and practical argument for using Canadian civil law to answer allegations of human rights abuses facilitated by the actions of Canadian corporations abroad. Brannagan illustrates his argument with an ongoing suit in the Quebec Superior Court, filed on behalf of citizens in the Palestinian village of Bil’in who have been negatively affected by the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank.


Swinging the pendulum even further towards the practical, Shastry Njeru speaks to the immense potential of information and communication technology to connect and empower segments of society that have been divided and displaced by conflict – focusing especially gender and peacebuilding in Africa. Challenging the gender stereotypes that have complicated women’s access to information technology in the past, Njeru calls for greater equality of access and education so as to coordinate and support the efforts of all peacemakers, regardless of sex or location.

Our final article of this issue, Daniela Corti and Ashok Swain’s analysis of the entangled US-led wars on drugs and terror in Afghanistan, challenges the logic behind forced eradication policies in that country and argues persuasively for an informed policy of illicit drug control that recognizes the livelihood concerns of Afghans and the broader security dynamics of the region.  

As always, submissions and feedback from our readers are highly encouraged, and should be directed to


Ross Ryan

Managing Editor

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