Narrowing the gap between psychosocial practice, peacebuilding and wider social change: an introduction to the Special Section in this issue

The terms ‘psychosocial interventions’ and ‘peacebuilding’ are often used as umbrella phrases. While each of these covers a widely diverging field, a primary goal of ‘psychosocial interventions’ is to improve wellbeing of individuals and families, while ‘peacebuilding’ tends to focus on communal and institutional processes. Psychosocial practitioners do not often see their work as directly related to social change, while those involved in peacebuilding initiatives can have a limiting focus on individual wellbeing. The authors argue that greater attention should be given to the synergies that could be created by linking psychosocial work with processes of social change and communal recovery, within the context of collective violence and humanitarian emergencies. The articles in this issue of ‘Intervention’ describe experiences within very different contexts (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burma (Myanmar), Guatemala, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, occupied East Jerusalem, South Sudan and Rwanda), but their common thread is that they begin to show how psychosocial work can influence a peacebuilding environment and foster wider social change.

Hamber, Brandon; Gallagher, Elizabeth; Ventevogel, Peter