Identity and Violence: Exploring an Ethical Framework for Peace in the Context of the Indo-Naga Conflict

By Venusa Tinyi

Violence is still one of the biggest threats to human civilizational values. It looms large around the globe in various forms. Despite advancements at several fronts, including the existence of several peace norms and organizations, we are yet to find an adequate panacea for violence. In this paper, an attempt is made to provide a conceptual framework to understand and address the problem of violence through the philosophical lens of Emmanuel Levinas. According to him, violence is grounded in how we see ourselves and how we see the others. Identity construction is thus seen as the root cause of violence. Having outlined the basic ethical ideas of Levinas to address the problem of violence, I present a case study of a conflict – the Indo-Naga conflict. I suggest that for understanding and resolving the conflict at a much deeper level, one has to go beyond the socio-empirical conditions to conceptual pre-condition that comes with a sense of ethical responsibility.

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