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.

  • Face
    Face is the opposite of shame and saving face--one's own and others'--is critical for conflict resolution.
  • Respect
    The opposite of humiliation, respect is almost a magic pill helping to jump start conflict transformation.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Delegitimization
    Delegitimization drives escalation and violence—but how is it reversed?
  • Siege Mentality
    North Korea's siege mentality is particularly dangerous as the US is exhibiting a siege mentality too!
  • Ethos of Conflict
    Since the conflict ethos feeds continuation of the conflict, that needs to change for conflicts to be resolved.
  • Psychological Dynamics of Intractable Conflicts
    In intractable conflicts, entire societies can get tangled up in destructive psychological dynamics.
  • Limits of Rationality in Decision Making
    Emotions cannot be ignored in intractable conflicts--they are the elephant that a rider only tenuously controls.
  • Cultural and Worldview Frames
    Worldview frames go a long way in explaining why the US is becoming increasingly polarized.
  • Enemy Images
    Enemy images deepen our socio-economics and political problems, while they make effective problem solving impossible.
  • Stereotypes / Characterization Frames
    Genocides start with negative stereotyping--is this where we want to go?
  • Identity Frames
    Identity frames shape who we are...and what we believe and do as well.
  • Into-the-Sea Framing
    Total refusal to live with the "other side" results in into-the-sea framing and deep intractability.
  • Competitive and Cooperative Approaches to Conflict
    Self-fulfilling prophecies keep us stuck in destructive conflict styles.
  • 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.
  • 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.