Conflict Frontiers Seminar 6--Figuring Out What Is Going On (MPP Challenge 1)


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One of the common traps of intractability is that there is a tendency to over-simplify a conflict to a simple "us-versus-them" struggle.  But they are always much more than that. The first challenge in Massively Parallel Peacebuilding is simply figuring out what is really going on in any particular conflict. The posts in this Brown Bag include: 

Conflict Frontiers Posts:

  • See the Complexity It's not Just "Us versus Them" -- Parties, issues, dynamics, power, and relationships are among the conflict elements one must clearly understand. -- July 25, 2018
  • Map the Basic Conflict Elements -- Conflict mapping lets you see what's going on in a conflict, so you can figure out how to engage to have the most positive impact. -- July 26, 2018
  • Identify the Core Issues -- Wonder why conflict mapping matters?  This video shows how it can totally change your approach to a conflict.- -- July 27, 2018
  • Identify the Overlay Issues -- This, too, shows why conflict mapping matters as it helps explain why simple, quick "solutions," never work in intractable conflicts.  At the same time it explores what DOES need to happen to tackle such conflicts effectively.
  • Identify--and Scale Up--Your Areas of Influence - A first step toward effective action is figuring out what you can do that will have maximum possible impact.

Related Conflict Fundamentals Posts

  • Conflicts and Disputes -- This article explains the difference and why it matters--and shows a way to map the development of the disputes within a particularly conflict.
  • John Paul Lederach on Transformation -- Lederach's diagrams in this essay are essentially different ways to map complex intractable conflicts.  His circle of conflict transformation is a particularly useful way to map the conflict transformation process--or to figure out what is needed to accomplish transformation.
  • Core and Overlays Part 1 and Core and Overlays Part 2 -- The core and overlay distinction is another way to map conflicts.

Related BI Knowledge Base Essays

  • Conflict Assessment -- Conflict assessment is the first stage in the process of conflict management and resolution that begins by clarifying participants' interests, needs, positions, and issues and then engages stakeholders to find solutions.
  • Conflict Mapping -- Conflict mapping is one approach to conflict assessment. Originally developed in the 1970s by Paul Wehr, it has been adapted and used by many scholars and practitioners since. Many others have developed their own conflict assessment "tools," with 100s of different categories. But Wehr's approach to complex mapping is one of the simpler and easier to use tools and is a good example of the kinds of things people should look at as they become engaged in or start to study a particular conflict.
  • Conflict Maps in Practice -- An interview of Paul Wehr (author of the previous post) explaining how he used conflict mapping to resolve an intractable university conflict.
  • Graphical Conflict Mapping Using PowerPoint, Prezi, and Websites - explanation with examples of different fairly widely known programs that can be used for effective conflict mapping.
  • Systems Modeling - One of the central challenges of deciding how to address intractable conflict is to understand how to respond to their dynamics and complexity. Systems modeling is one tool to help you do that.  This article explains systems modeling and gives several examples of how it can be used to design effective interventions in intractable conflicts.
  • Journalists as Conflict Analysts - an analysis of the role journalist both can and do play to help people understand conflicts they are in and care about. 
  • Summary of Hocker and Wilmot. "Conflict Assessment", Chapter Six in Interpersonal Conflict -- An explanation of why conflict analysis is important for understanding complex systems, and an overview of yet another way to do it. 

Related Beyond Intractability in Context Posts:

Photo Credits:

  • Mapping Illustration -- Guy Burgess