Dialogue and Non Violent Communication: a Capability Approach

Motmans, Jos, and Jannes Motmans (2009). "Dialogue and Non Violent Communication: a Capability Approach " Paper presented at the 6th annual conference of the HDCA, 10-12 September 2009, Lima, Peru.

Democracy and political freedom are fundaments of Sen’s capability approach. In Development as Freedom (2001:145-159) he clearly illustrates not only the instrumental significance of both for the process of development but also its intrinsic importance and its constructive role in the selection and ordering of people’s needs and capabilities. Although Sen’s point of view is clear and acceptable, this is not the case with his answer to the question of ‘How to realise and how to implement democracy and political freedom?' However the need and the will for coherent and effective strategies to implement democracy and political freedom grows in a globalizing world. New notions of governance arise, new and different issues come to the fore and new mental frameworks concerning political participation are formed. As Steven Rosell (2004:47) states, traditional governance and decision making was relatively simple. The homogenous elite that was involved in policy making had, most of the time, a same social and cultural background, similar system believes and language. However, homogeneity is changing towards diversity as a result of globalisation. This change is confronting us with new challenges on the field of governance. In this article we state that dialogue and non violent communication are both necessary and complementary additional steps in decision making processes confronted with this new complexity. This does not apply to the national policy alone, but to the international policy as well. Classic interpretation and implementation of democracy and political freedom is no longer sufficient. Future orientated democracies better call on people’s natural born competences to step in dialogue, to communicate in a non violent way and to enlarge their capabilities to practice these competences in order to create a sustainable fundament for political freedom, as a mean (the instrumental contribution), an end (the intrinsic importance) and for its constructive role in development. After we explain the concept of dialogue and non violent communication both as a competence and a capability, we illustrate our central statement in the case of the Palestinian Occupied Territories. In our conclusion we also set a draft for a further research agenda.
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