Fundamentals Seminar 4:  Core Conflict Elements


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

Guy and Heidi Burgess make a distinction between core conflict elements that explain what the conflict is "really about," and "overlay elements" which are factors that lie over the core elements, making them more difficult to see and resolve.  Some of the core conflict elements are explored below.

Essays in this Seminar Include:

  • Core and Overlays Part 1 -- An examination of the Burgess's theory of core and overlaying factors which contribute to conflict intractability. This video focuses primarily on the core conflict elements.
  • High-Stakes Distributional Issues -- A further discussion of one of the Burgess's core factors driving intractability.
  • Inequality -- Inequality was a key driver of intractability when this article was written--it is even more so now. 
  • Moral or Value Conflicts -- Value conflicts cannot be dealt with as if they were interest-based conflicts, although that's how mediators are often taught to handle them.
  • Identity Issues -- Identity has long been identified as a driver of intractability. This essay explains why, and what can be done to address these conflicts. 
  • Status and power struggles -- Another core driver of intractability--the fight over social status never seems to end, as is discussed in this Fundamentals Post. 
  • Rich / Poor Conflicts -Inequality was a key driver of intractability when this article was written--it is even more so now.
  • Oppression -- Written by well-known conflict scholar Morton Deutsch, the entire series is more relevant today than ever.
  • Humiliation -- While commonly used, humiliation is extremely destructive--to its victims, and also, often, to the person or group doing the humiliation as well.