Fundamentals Seminar 3: Conflict Assessment and Mapping


This relates to Conflict Frontiers Massively Parallel Peacebuilding (MPP) Challenge 1-Figuring Out What Is Going On..

Conflicts are often more complex than they appear.  Although we tend to reduce them to simple "us-versus-them," or "right-versus-wrong" stories, there is almost always more to it than that.  Finding out what is going on is critical to dealing with conflict effectively.  These articles explain different ways of doing that.

  • 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. 
  • Complex Adaptive Systems -- Beyond complicated, societal-level conflicts can be considered to be "complex adaptive systems," similar in some sense to weather, ant colonies, or jazz ensembles. The study of these systems requires us to challenge assumptions deeply embedded in the North American/European understandings of conflict intervention.
  • 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.