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The Role of Narrative in Managing Conflict and Supporting Peace

Introducing the analogy of the ‘narrative tree’, this IFIT discussion paper draws on the expertise and experience of IFIT’s Inclusive Narratives Practice Group to provide a framework for understanding how narratives form and function, as well as an approach for facilitating narrative enrichment at the national or subnational level.

In countries with histories of political crisis, polarisation or violent conflict, social groups often have different stories about what happened in the past, why it happened and what it will take to create a lasting peace that benefits their group and larger society. These established narratives together form a narrative ‘landscape’ that is specific to each context, which can either deepen or mitigate divisions.

The paper argues – counterintuitively – that lasting peace does not come from everyone holding a common narrative; instead, it emerges in environments where many diverse narratives are encouraged to thrive together. 

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