Fundamentals Seminar Blog

Constructive Confrontation Initiative Spring 2018 Posts to Date
See Syllabus for additional background posts and planned, future posts (many of which are now accessible).
Other Blogs: MOOS Conflict Frontiers | BI in Context | Colleague Activities
Posts ordered from most recent to earliest.

  • Constructive Escalation
    By choosing one's conflict strategies carefully, it is possible to win the support of people on the other side without causing backlash.
  • Destructive Escalation
    Destructive escalation is the most dangerous force on the planet. The "enemy" is not the other side; it is destructive escalation.
  • Principles of Justice and Fairness
    "Justice" can mean very different things to different people, and the outcomes of each are very different.
  • Types of Justice
    This essay explains the differences between distributive, procedural, retributive, and restorative justice.
  • Overcoming Oppression Through Persuasion
    Persuasion doesn't have the risks that come with the use of force, and can be very effective.
  • Overcoming Oppression With Power
    When persuasion isn't enough, power must be added to overcome oppression. But that doesn't mean violence.
  • Overcoming Oppression: Awakening the Sense of Injustice
    Awareness of injustice is a precondition for overcoming it.
  • Maintaining Oppression
    All four need to be understood and addressed if oppression is to be overcome.
  • Forms of Oppression
    In addition to distributive, procedural, and retributive injustice, moral exclusion and cultural imperialism are also oppression.
  • The Nature and Origins of Oppression
    Hunter/gatherer societies were relatively egalitarian, but agriculture encouraged and enabled the formation of a social hierarchy.
  • Oppression and Conflict: Introduction
    This intro to a 6-essay series focuses on the causes and impacts of oppression and how it can be overcome.
  • Dehumanization
    Research on dehumanization is very clear: such speech increases the likelihood of violence, even genocide.
  • Theories of Change
    Peacebuilders use many theories of change, yet they seldom describe them explicitly. Doing so would improve their outcomes and others' knowledge.
  • Into-the-Sea Framing
    Total refusal to live with the "other side" results in into-the-sea framing and deep intractability.
  • Face
    Face is the opposite of shame and saving face--one's own and others'--is critical for conflict resolution.
  • Enemy Images
    Enemy images deepen our socio-economics and political problems, while they make effective problem solving impossible.
  • Respect
    The opposite of humiliation, respect is almost a magic pill helping to jump start conflict transformation.
  • Conflicts and Disputes
    Distinguishing between conflicts and disputes is essential for successful engagement in each.
  • Complex Adaptive Systems
    Successfully working with complex system requires us to challenge many of our assumptions and understand the limits of rational planning.
  • Channels of Communication
    When channels of communication between hostile actors close, risks of destructive conflict raise substantially.
  • Factual Disputes
    An overview of the many kinds of disputes over facts that arise in conflicts--and what to do about them. Although getting worse, this problem isn't new!
  • Misunderstandings
    Even if the misunderstandings do not cause conflict, they can escalate it rapidly once it starts.
  • Interpersonal Communication
    We take it for granted, but so much can go wrong with our communication. In conflict, care is essential!
  • Cognitive Dissonance
    Cognitive dissonance can escalate or de-escalate conflict depending on how it is used.
  • Victimhood
    Victimhood has a dual nature—people can be both ashamed and proud of their victim status at the same time.