The world has entered a period of heightened geopolitical instability that is compounded by climate change and the emergence of new technologies. The number of conflicts and related deaths are increasing. Dramatic failures in Afghanistan and elsewhere show that the mainstream approach to peace and conflict is no longer effective. The aim of this article is to contribute to re-thinking peace and security in two ways. First, by explaining why trying to influence complex social change process with a determined-design approach is self-defeating. Second, by introducing adaptive peace theory as a normative and functional approach to ending violent conflicts and sustaining peace in specific contexts, that is aimed at navigating the complexity inherent in trying to nudge societal change processes toward peace, without causing harm.



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