Featured Topic Area: Scale, Complexity, & Intractability
An essential precondition for success, a realistic assessment of the difficulty of the challenges that have to be addressed.
Frontiers Seminar 2 ended by explaining the shortcomings of the past conflict resolution paradigms, and calling for a new "complexity" or "systems" paradigm for conflict and its resolution. Brown Bag # 3 introduces a number of conflict theories and theorists who have been developing such an approach to conflict over the last 20 or so years. The posts in this unit include:
Conflict Frontiers Posts
- Developing a Systems/Complexity Paradigm -- An introductory look at a developing new paradigm for peacebuilding: using systems thinking and complexity analysis -- April 3, 2018
- Dugan's "Nested Theory" of Conflict -- Conflicts exist in many levels at once - seeing these helps you see the entire conflict system. -- April 4, 2018
- Lederach's Pyramid -- Leaders at three levels of society all contribute to peace, but those at the middle-level are often the most effective. -- April 6, 2018
- Lederach's Big Picture of Conflict Transformation -- Lederach's circle of conflict transformation shows how to design change processes that work. -- April 7, 2018
- Diamond and McDonald's Multi-track Diplomacy -- Diplomats are not just officials, but include 9 different types of people--all contributing towards peacebuilding. -- April 8, 2018
- Ury's "Third Side" -- Everyone can play at least one of Ury's 10 "Third Side" roles--even the disputants themselves. -- April 10, 2018
- Coleman's "Five Percent" Part 1 -- Peter Coleman says intractable conflicts are formed by powerful "attractors" or seemingly inescapable traps. -- April 11, 2018
- Coleman's "Five Percent" Part 2 -- Different from linear approaches, Coleman says intractable conflicts can still be tamed by 3 steps. -- April 12, 2018
- Ricigliano's SAT model -- Complex conflicts require complex responses: the SAT and PAL models are linked approaches for doing just that. -- April 13, 2018
- Hauss's "New Paradigm" -- Intractable conflicts are "wicked problems" that need an entirely new paradigm to deal with, says Chip Hauss. -- April 15, 2018
- Mari Fitzduff's An Introduction to Neuroscience for the Peacebuilder-Part 1 -- Neuroscience can explain why so many peacebuilding interventions don't work as hoped--and how to do better. -- April 26, 2018
- Mari Fitzduff's An Introduction to Neuroscience for the Peacebuilder-Part 2 -- How can peacebuilders use a knowledge of neuroscience to do their jobs better? We are just beginning to learn. -- April 28, 2018
- John Paul Lederach on Transformation -- More detail about how conflict transformation is different than resolution--and much more applicable to intractable conflicts.
- Lederach's Pyramid -- A well-known diagram from Building Peace,this essay explains the roles of top-level, mid-level, and grassroots leadership.
- Lederach's "Meeting Place" -- None of these are simple and it is very hard to have all four together. But doing so, says Lederach "is the meeting place of reconciliation."
- Ury's "Third Side"' -- Ury describes 10 third side roles that both conflict insiders and outsiders can play to help make conflicts more constructive.
- Multi-Track Diplomacy -- Peacebuilding is seen by many participants to have many "tracks" beyond just track I and track II. This essay explains the concept of multi-track diplomacy, developed by Louise Diamond and John MacDonald.
- Meta-Conflict Resolution -- Many conflict resolvers emphasize mediation, dialogue, or problem solving workshops as solutions to conflict. But intractable conflicts usually need a much more comprehensive approach. This article describes such an approach and articulates the various roles that must be carried out to successfully transform these conflicts.
Seminar videos (listed above) contain additional "BI in Context" references.
- Complexity, Intractability and Social Change -- A short video in which Peter Coleman explains his take on intractability, complexity, and systems.
- (Why Peacebuilders Need to) Dump the Terms 'Success' and 'Failure' - In a short video, Rob Ricigiano explains how these words don't work in complex adaptive systems.
- The Neuroscience of Changing Your Mind -- From Scientific American, "the neuroscience of changing your mind," with profound conflict resolution implications.
- You're Not as Rational as You Think --Good essay on the limits of rationality (and the limits of rationality-oriented approaches to conflict).
America may be in a reinforcing feedback loop of growing inequality and Republican rule. -- Examples of the way in which positive and negative feedback loops contribute to the United States' political divide.
Peter Coleman: Conflict Intelligence and Systemic Wisdom - This is a March, 2018 Negotiation Journal article describing Coleman's latest thinking on conflict and systems.
- Tim Hicks: Embodied Conflict: the Neural Basis of Conflict and Communication - Another exploration of neuroscience, conflict, and communication.