The field of conflict resolution has evolved dramatically during the relatively short duration of the discipline’s existence. Each generation of scholars has struggled with the major puzzles of their era, providing theories and solutions that meet the needs of the time, only to be pushed forward by new insights and, at times, totally upended by a changing world.
This introductory course text explores the genealogy of the field of conflict resolution by examining three different epochs of the field, each one tied to the historical context and events of the day. In each of these epochs, scholars and practitioners worked to understand and address the conflicts that the world was facing, at that time.
This book provides a framework that students will carry with them far into their careers, enriching their contributions and strengthening their voices. Rather than a didactic approach to the field, students will develop their critical analytical skills through an inductive inquiry. Students will broaden their vocabulary, grapple with argumentation, and develop critical reading skills.
Introduction / Part I: Epoch One: 1945 -- the Fall of the Berlin Wall / 1. Epoch One: Topics / a) Greed and Grievance: Collier: Economic Causes of Conflict and their Implications for Policy / b) Structural Violence: Galtung (Promotion of Peace) / c) Human Needs: Burton: Violence Explained: Needs Theory / d) Aggression: Barash and Webel: The Individual Level. / 2. Epoch One: Tactics & Strategies / a) Negotiation: Thompson: Negotiation: The Mind and Heart / b) Alternative Dispute Resolution: (ADR): Sander / c) Problem Solving Workshops: Kelman: Evaluating Contributions of Problem Solving to the Resolution of Ethnonational Conflict / Epoch One: Research Methodology / a) Global Peace Index 2014: Suggested: Global Terrorism Index / b) Failed States: Goldstone: Failed states
Part II: Epoch 2: Coexistence as Peace / Epoch Two: Topics / a) Identity: Korostelina: Social Identity and Conflict: Structures, Dynamics, and Implications / b) Culture: Avruch: Culture and Conflict Resolution / c) Gender: Cheldelin & Eliatamby: Challenging the Dominant Narrative (Women Waging War and Peace) / d) Religion: Gopin: Imagine Coexistence: Religion as an Aid and a Hindrance to Post-conflict Coexistence Work / Moral Values and Intractable Conflict / a) Chosen Trauma: Volkan: Transgenerational Transmissions and Chosen Traumas: An Aspect of Large-Group Identity / b) Moral Conflict: Pearce and Littlejohn: When Social Worlds Collide / c) Intractable Conflict: Coleman: Intractable Conflict as an Attractor: A Dynamical Systems Approach to Conflict Escalation and Intractability / Epoch Two: Approaches / a) Emotion: Fischer and Shapiro: Using Emotions as You Negotiate / b) Mediation: Curle: Mediation / c) Appreciate Inquiry: McClellan Marrying Positive Psychology to Mediation/ d) Coexistence: Chayes: Imagining Coexistence / e) Truth and Reconciliation: Rotberg and Thompson: Truth v. Justice: the Morality of Truth Commissions / f) Peacebuilding: Lederach: The Elicitive model: Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation Across Cultures / g) Non-violence: Sharp: Facing Acute Conflict: Waging Nonviolent Struggle / Epoch Two: Research Methods / a) Grounded Theory: Akinyoake: Developing Grounded Theory in Peace and Conflict Research / b) Cross-cutting Analyses: Gurr: A Global Analyses / c) Ethnography: Nordstrom: Prologue (Chapter 1) Shadows of War
Part III: Epoch 3 – Living in the Tensions / 1. Epoch Three: Topics / Power and Marginalization / a) Power: Jabri: Discourses on Violence. Conflict Analysis Reconsidered / b) Narrative Repair: Nelson: Reclaiming Moral Agency /c) Politics of Victimhood: Enns: When Victims Become Killers /d) Contentious Coexistence: Payne: Unsettling Accounts / Politics of Voice / a) Cobb: Introduction: Speaking of Violence / b) Trauma: Danieli: Essential Elements of healing after massive trauma: complex needs voiced by victims/survivors/ c) Gender: Enloe: Bananas, Beaches, and Bases / d) Silence: Dwyer: A Politics of Silences: Violence, Memory and Treacherous Speech in Post-1965 Bali / Epoch Three: Praxis / a) Mutual Liberation: Freire: Oppressors and oppressed liberate each other / b) Narrative Mediation: Winslade: Narrative Mediation: What is it? / c) Critical Theory: Hansen: Critical Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice / d) Radical Care: Ginwright: Fostering Caring Relationships for Social Justice / e) Social Media: Castells: Dignity, Violence and Geopolitics: The Arab Uprisings / f) Upending Normative Processes: Gardner: The Dork Police / Epoch Three: Research / a) Participatory Action Research (PAR) Bruenlin, Himelstein and Nelson: “Our Stories, Told By Us” The Neighborhood Story Project in New Orleans / b) Decolonizing Research: Simpson: Aboriginal Peoples and Knowledge: Decolonizing our Processes / Conclusion
Some of the dominant discourses of conflict resolution we see referenced in this book have had devastating impacts on the populations we were meant to serve, from the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to the Oxfam and Save the Children scandals in 2018. This book tells the story of how conflict resolution has become reconciled with critical thinking over time. It is not just an anthology of peace of conflict studies since WW2, but the first systematic look at the power matrix of conflict resolution in its theories, practices and research methods. As peace and conflict practitioners, knowing our colonial past means that we can never lose sight of the populations we now assist in their peacebuilding efforts.
By comprehensively tracing developments in conflict resolution theory, this book provides readers with the necessary tools to look at conflict through a variety of lenses. By encouraging readers to critically engage with conflict through various perspectives, Introduction to Conflict Resolution will undoubtedly contribute to the next generation of reflective, responsible and well-rounded conflict resolution students, scholars and practitioners.
This book is spectacular – and should be required in conflict resolution across the globe! The editors take us on a fascinating intellectual journey through the evolving field of conflict resolution, highlighting major theoretical contributions and contextualizing each within the broader sociopolitical discourse of its time. We come to see these theories as emergent within the fabric of specific historical eras and, as such, we gain new perspective from which to understand, appreciate, and critique them. In fact, the editors infuse each major theorist’s perspective with their own thoughtful– and at times provocative—insights, turning this book into a living, breathing intellectual conversation that may just be the kind of discourse our world needs right now to embolden a greater peace.
Conflict and its successful resolution is the most important, yet least understood, problem of our time, underlying societies’ inability to deal with its many other unsolved problems: e.g., identity clashes, climate change, and infectious disease. Introduction to Conflict Resolution presents a unique and insightful analysis of the theoretical and practical development of the conflict resolution and peacebuilding fields, giving students a powerful understanding of how conflict might be better handled going forward.
Sara Cobb is Drucie French Cumbie Professor at The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (SCAR), George Mason University, where she was also the Director for 8 years.
Sarah Federman is Presidential Scholar at George Mason University USA, the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution.
Alison Castel is Core Instructor for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder.