Once Upon a Conflict
by Earl Martin
Summary written by: Quinn Doody, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: "Once Upon a Conflict ..." Conciliation Quarterly, 14:2, 5.
Storytelling is valuable in the transformation of conflict because it breaks down barriers and allows people to communicate freely. In telling a story, one can explain strong convictions and points of view without directing them at the opposing party. In addition, one can reminisce with another through storytelling and break down any tension through a common bond of shared memories. Storytelling can also give people insight into how others feel by its very nature: one can place oneself "in another's shoes," and thus relate to that person's life experiences. Finally, storytelling gives us the option of retelling a conflict and giving it a positive ending, opening people's minds to the possibility of resolution. This article gives specific examples of conflict transformation through storytelling.