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In this chapter we evaluate not only how different paradigms approach the topic of peacebuilding but also how they compare and contrast with one another. This essay suggests that despite some clear incompatibilities, realism, liberalism, constructivism, cosmopolitanism, critical theory, public policy, and localism share some common ideas about how to pragmatically resolve conflicts, including focusing on the participants of these conflicts, developing locally grounded solutions, maintaining long-term commitments, and focusing on comprehensive approaches to peace. The main divide, we suggest, is between understandings of power in practice, with the more monist approaches positing that local actions come from structures that are not easily perceived. This critique, however, is minimized by the reality that all of the paradigms agree that peace cannot be sustained without both tempering the prerogatives of power with ideas of equality and consulting local actors. We conclude this chapter with comments about the benefits a cross-paradigmatic approach to peacebuilding has from methodological and theoretical standpoints.
The concepts of peace and peacebuilding were basically developed by men, often with a realist background. This top-down approach has people as simple spectators. Only an engendered-sustainable peace will be able to deal with the present global environmental and climate change. "Engendered-sustainable peace" refers to the structural factors related to long-term violence, deeply embedded in the patriarchal system and characterized by authoritarianism, discrimination, exploitation, destruction, and violence. I define and address the cosmopolitan concept of "engendered-sustainable peace" and examine its foundations in theories of positive, structural, cultural, and sustainable peace. I then address power relations from realism to cosmopolitanism, including historical materialism and feminist understandings. I then discuss the potential of technology for peacebuilding and examine how a transition toward an "engendered-sustainable peace" opens an analytical tool that could be used by bottom-up efforts to overcome the present violence against women, men, children, and elders, including the environment and ecosystem services.