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PACS 201: INTRODUCTION TO THE CONFLICT RESOLUTION PARADIGM.docx

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Department
Peace and Conflict Studies
Course
PACS 201
Professor
Conrad Grebel
Semester
Fall

Description
1. INTRODUCTION TO THE CONFLICT RESOLUTION PARADIGM A. If we want to prevent violence and create conditions favorable for peace what should we do? Power Politics paradigm:  Arm yourself, be prepared, be ready because conflicts and violence are natural World Order Paradigm  Institutionalizing cooperation; building institutions or focus on areas where there are urgent consensus of human life Conflict Resolution Paradigm  Conflict is inevitable; violence is not the key to peace  Established communication, work on the relationship, develop good skills on dealing with differences B. What is Conflict resolution Paradigm? - It is not just about ending fights, wars or negotiating agreements - It is also about increasing our capacity to deal with conflicts without violence - We have to develop capacity by expanding our toolbox of social and political practices C. Variation in terminology: 1.) Conflict resolution, 2.) conflict management – we may not be able to resolve many conflicts but we can try to keep them within non-destructive parameters, we can limit violence. 3.) Conflict transformation – making conflict less violent D. Basic Conflict Resolution Assumptions  Focusing on relationships can produce new insights into sources and dynamics of conflict - institutions, structures, and characteristics of individuals still matter - In power politics paradigm, we focus on innate characteristics of individuals or state as actors; In world Order Paradigm, we focus on institutions, structures and how the world is organized; in conflict resolution, we focus on the way the different actors are relating to one another - But human interactions are dynamic and involve the “whole human being” (intellect + emotion); involves emotions or volatility you encounter in relationships; we look at the history of relationships  These attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors that fuel destructive conflicts can be changed - These are transformable if we know the process or if we have a valuable approach - Improve methods and processes on handling conflict can produce better ( less destructive, more productive) outcomes - We can change or transform especially if we acquire better skills- communication skills; effective communication and problem solving are essential if we are to benefit from conflict rather than suffer from it. Hence, conflict is potentially positive but there is still a need to establish connection and communication to overcome 2. SOURCES OF SOCIAL CONFLICT Conflict analysis is a key dimension of Conflict resolution. That is, conflict resolution doesn’t only deal with what is obvious (issue), it also deals what is unseen or conditions that tells why is it happening (Underlying, risk and protective factors) A. Conflict  Perceived incompatibility of actions or goals (e.g.: one breaks the rules in playing)  Lenses of viewing Conflict: 1.) Psychological – understanding personalities and perceptions about conflict, 2.) Political – struggling for power, seeking to pursue objectives; role of institutions, 3.) Economical – how competition for material things causes conflicts, 4.) Sociological– social status, scarcity of position, 5.) Anthropology – cultural differences B. Keashly and Warters: Four perspectives on the Nature and causes of conflicts  Individual Characteristics Perspective - Instinct, personality traits, learned responses (debate of human aggression)  Social Structural perspective -Unequal access to resources (class, gender, race)  Social Process Perspective* -social interactions of individuals, groups need to be studied in their own right; relationships (perceptions, interpretations, attitudes, behaviors, communications) -Very significant in studying conflict resolution approach  Formal perspective -game Theory (individuals are rational actors in situations with incentives for conflict/cooperation); often uses mathematics C. Models in Clarifying Conflict resolution in the Nature of Social Process Perspective  “Aggressor-Defender” Models of Conflict -Perceived divergence of interest  aggressor behavior (someone decides to force a solution)defender’s behavior -Argument: Most happenings in life is usually a bit more complicated than what this model is trying to imply; a bit too simplistic -Pro-argument: Nice and simple; influential model  “Conflict Spiral” Models of Conflict -More influential model; not only about aggressors and defenders but also about conflict relationships wherein conflict begets more conflict -Perceived divergence of interest  heavy tactics used by Party A Changes in party B (B, upon experiencing heavy tactics ships into the mode of defensiveness – changes such as blame, change in leadership, shift in identity, social and psychological changes)  Heavy tactics in Party B  Changes in Party A -Heavy tactics are reinforcers 3. ANALYZING MACRO-LEVEL CASES A. Poverty and Armed Conflict -Poverty and Armed Conflict: Structural Vulnerability -Poor countries such as Nepal, Sierra Leone B. Collective Identity Nationalism C. Refugees and displaced people D. Escalations as a Consequence of unresolved Tensions and unmet needs. E. Protracted Social Conflicts (Edward Azar) 4. Explaining Conflict Escalation  Process of escalation - The other person starts to become the problem - Issue proliferates and becomes more general (e.g.: you don’t clean the house, you don’t feed the dog… you’re an irresponsible person) - Communication deteriorates, becoming less direct and accurate as conflict escalates - Triangulation occurs as others are drawn into the conflict (macro-bringing in allies) - Reciprocal causation: reacting to the other side eye for eye. - Increase in hostility - Polarization, changes in social organization occur  Reality and Perception: Both matter -Who started it? - Parallax: Where we stand affects what we see.  Attitudes and Bias -Attribution Bias: if we’re both doing similar types of actions that someone else might perceive as aggressive, we’re more likely to come up with a good explanation for ourselves. -Implications: *Externalization of responsibility *Justifications for heavy tactics  Emotional involvement and Communication -Lederach’s model: If we’re not emotionally involved at all in a conflict, we probably won’t have too much communication. If there’s enough -be careful about the situation where we might aggravate some negative psychological dynamics: conflict residues, enemy images and the fear factor  Institutionalizations - Conflict situations can be like over-stretched rubber bands(residues of conflict) as you stretch it, it will return to its original shape, but if you over stretch it, it might lose its elasticity - Changes in social structure, memory and leadership  A slippery slope -Glasl’s Model; Stages of conflict -Lederach’s model: lower point to higher point
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