Summary of "Conflict, Cooperation, and Justice"

Summary of

Conflict, Cooperation, and Justice

By Barbara Benedict Bunker, Jeffery Rubin, and associates

Summary written by Tanya Glaser, Conflict Research Consortium

Citation: Conflict, Cooperation, and Justice, Barbara Benedict Bunker, Jeffery Rubin, and associates, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bas Publishers, 1995), 441 pp

Conflict, Cooperation, and Justice will be of interest to those who are interested in cooperation, conflict and justice, particularly as described in the work of Morton Deutsch. The body of this work is divided into twelve essays, grouped under three topics: conflict, cooperation and justice. The text includes a foreword and introduction, a biographic sketch of Morton Deutsch, and a brief introduction to each of the contributors.

Part One addresses conflict. Jeffrey Rubin and George Levinger discuss the analysis of conflict at different levels. They ask, for example, to what extent the principles which underlie interpersonal conflict apply to international conflict. Guy Olivier Faure explores ways of formulating conflict which avoid the pitfalls of culture-bound views. He shows how conflict, aggression, peace, and negotiation are defined differently in different cultures. Dean Pruitt and Paul Olczak discuss approaches to seemingly intractable conflicts. They offer a diagnostic model for differentiating between escalated and moderate conflict. Since mediation or negotiation are not generally effective in escalated conflict, they propose seven types of intervention which may be more effective. Ellen Raider describes how to translate conflict resolution training and theory into applied skills for effective practice. Finally, Morton Deutsch himself discusses the constructive management of conflict, both in terms of developing knowledge and acquiring practical skills, commenting on the essays in this section.

Under the general topic of cooperation, Roy Lewicki and Barbara Benedict Bunker offer a model of the development and decline of trust in relationships. Virginia Vanderslice discusses cooperation within a competitive context, focusing on the experiences of worker cooperatives. She looks for the presence of pathological modes of cooperation: over-conformity, nepotism, and vested interest. David Johnson and Roger Johnson turn their attention to the application of cooperation theory to education. They examine the practice of cooperative learning in education, and explore its failures and successes. The section concludes with a commentary by Deutsch, discussing the frailty of cooperation.

The essays in Part Three focus on justice. Robert Folger, Blair Sheppard and Robert Buttram discuss three forms of social justice, based on either equity, equality, or need, and explore situations where one form seems to dominate. Tom Tyler and Maura Belliveau discuss definitions of fairness. They compare ideals of equity and equality, and contrast notions distributive justice with procedural justice. Michelle Fine and L. Mun Wong address the issue of perceived injustice by discussing the psychology of victimization. They also explore the ways in which institutions act to silence critique. Susan Opotow explores social categorization, moral exclusion and the scope of justice. She discusses how and why people differentiate between justice as it applies to themselves, and as it applies to others. Genocide is discussed. In his concluding commentary, Deutsch calls for a new moral philosophy, which could further help us identify and respond to injustice.

The text ends with a review of the essays and summary of conclusions by Rubin and Bunker.

Conflict, Cooperation, and Justice offers a series of insightful and thought-provoking essays which build on the work of Morton Deutsch.