Volume 1, Number 2 (2008)

Method in the madness: A social justice manifesto for conflict analysis

Ipsita Chatterjee

Pennsylvania State University


Conflicts are complex, violent events. Justice becomes problematic when conflict research hesitates to identify oppressors. Such hesitation is due to an epistemological relativity that over-emphasizes situationality, preventing the researcher from taking sides with the oppressed. Over-emphasizing situationality often produces case-study oriented research that fails to go beyond case-specific micro causalities. I argue that heterogeneous micro events are often connected by macro phenomena that must be discerned for the sake of social justice.  Using examples from a case of Hindu-Muslim conflict in India, I argue for a methodology that takes the side of the oppressed and links the specificity of this cultural conflict with neoliberal globalization.

Keywords: social justice, conflict, intentionality, global-local, political economy, India