Abstract Dr Henriëtte Caroline Westrik 2003 (MS Word , 11kb)

This study focuses on reading contested landscapes, with special reference to Cyprus. The aim is not
to formulate solutions but rather to gain a better understanding of the interaction between
landscape, culture and conflict. It investigates how the contested landscape could be used to its full
potential as a peace tool.
The problem addressed in this thesis is:
Even though conflicts involve land issues, the link between landscape and conflict
resolution all too often is not clearly understood, thus opportunities are missed
to utilise them. The notion of ‘contested landscape’ is readily seen as a negative
result of violent conflict, but not enough has been done to explore the positive
aspects of contested landscapes and the role they can play in conflict resolution.
With the proliferation of low intensity civil wars in nearly every region of the
world it is essential to look at these conflicts from the point of view of the
landscape of the local and regional contestants.
The study is based on literature research and fieldwork in order to support the following hypothesis:
Buffer zones should be regarded as important peace tools rather than as places
of division since they are areas where the various fighting factions can meet,
interact and work towards a sustainable solution without interference from their
respective governments.
This study sets out to explore the use of landscape as a tool for peacebuilding, with the aid of a
theoretical framework. An improved understanding of the importance of reading the landscape,
specifically in the context of present day conflicts, will enable a better understanding of contested
landscapes and the use of buffer zones in conflict resolution.