conflict & communication online, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2003
ISSN 1618-0747




Wilhelm Kempf
Constructive conflict coverage - A social-psychological research and development program

Peace journalism is a relatively new research area in psychology which emerged in the last decade of the last century. Building on findings from social psychology (group processes, social influence, conflict research, attitude change), propaganda, and enemy concept research and on models of conflict management and the constructive transformation of conflicts, an investigation is made of the factors that determine the escalation oriented bias of conventional war reporting, and of how this can be transformed into de-escalation and/or peace oriented conflict reporting. This paper provides an outline of this research and development program in six sections: (1) Interest Perception, (2) Task Formulation, (3) Basic Theoretical Assumptions, (4) War Discourse vs. Peace Discourse, (5) a Two Step Model, and (6) Journalist Training.


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On the author: Wilhelm Kempf, since 1977 Professor for Psychological Methodology and Head of the Peace Research Group at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Special areas of interest: nonviolent conflict solutions, the construction of social reality by the mass media. Publications, inter alia: "Konflikt und Gewalt" (Münster: agenda, 2000); "Los Medios y la Cultura de Paz" (with Sonia Gutiérrez Villalobos, Berlin: regener, 2001); "Journalism and the New World Order. Vol. II. Studying War and the Media" (with Heikki Luostarinen, Göteborg: Nordicom, 2002).

Address: Fachbereich Psychologie, Universität Konstanz (, D-78457 Konstanz. eMail: