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.

  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Conflicts and Disputes
    Distinguishing between conflicts and disputes is essential for successful engagement in each.
  • Complex Adaptive Systems
    Beyond complex, 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.