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.

  • Process Frames
    Your process frame is a blinder that lets you see a solution...or forces it away.
  • Humiliation
    Evelin Lindner calls humiliation the "atom bomb of emotions" because it does such profound damage to relationships.
  • 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.
  • Power
    If power were one-dimensional, we could agree who has more and who has less. But we are often surprised at how power struggles come out.
  • Social Status
    Social status is intrinsically linked with ideas of power, humiliation, dignity and hierarchy--all of which drive conflict.
  • Moral or Value Conflicts
    Moral and value conflicts often become intractable, as neither side is willing to compromise their deeply-held beliefs.
  • Frames, Framing and Reframing
    Frames determine what we believe is true. When we frame things differently, conflict resolution is a challenge!
  • High-Stakes Distributional Issues
    When conflicts over who gets what really matter--they are high stakes--they drive intractability.
  • Within-Party Differences
    Not everyone on the "other side" is the same: some are open to compromise and others not. Don't lump them together.
  • Levels of Action
    Leaders at three levels of society can contribute to peace, but the middle level is often the most effective.
  • Leaders and Leadership
    "Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth." (Burns)
  • Identity Issues
    Identity drives many intractable conflicts as people simplify complex situations into an "us-versus them" story.
  • Rich / Poor Conflicts
    Conflicts between the rich and the poor are intractable in many contexts.
  • Dealing with Extremists
    Violent extremism is one of the most difficult challenges of our time. We MUST design better ways of preventing it.
  • Third Siders
    Third siders are disputants and outsiders - united in a desire to transform conflicts for the better.
  • Parties to Intractable Conflict
    Everyone can play a role in making conflicts better--or worse!
  • Principles of Justice and Fairness
    Like, beauty, "justice" is "in they eye of the beholder. " Or is it not? Can it be objectively measured?
  • Stable Peace
    Stable peace, says Boulding, exists when the thought of war as a tool to resolve conflicts is not considered.
  • Reconciliation
    Once a hot topic, now a hotly-needed but controversial one-- this essay tells why.
  • Conflict Transformation
    Conflict transformation sees conflict as an opportunity, not a problem needing a solution.
  • Draft Fact-Finding replacement page
    To be trust-worthy, fact-finding must either be done jointly or by a neutral third party. But pitfalls remain for both approaches.
  • The Core Causes of Intractable Conflicts
    High-stakes, fundamental moral differences, status conflicts, and identity issues are among the factors that often lie at the core of intractable conflicts.
  • What Are Intractable Conflicts?
    Supplementing the Frontiers video, this Fundamentals essay tells more about our history with the term and why we still use it.
  • Settlement, Resolution, Management, and Transformation: An Explanation of Terms
    Often considered synonyms, each of these implies a very different process and outcome.
  • Interests, Positions, Needs, and Values
    These are the things people fight about--and each must be handled differently.