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International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution

About this journal  

We are temporarily suspending the printing of journal issues, due to the measures taken to combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19). When delivery becomes available again, we will resume the printing and sending of the journal issues previously missed. All articles of each new journal issue will be made available digitally via this online journal platform. In addition, we will include a link to the PDF of the full issue. Subscribe to the email alerts for this journal here to receive notifications when a new issue is at your disposal.

Issue 1, 2013 Expand all abstracts

Michal Alberstein
Michal Alberstein is head of the Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation Program, Bar-Ilan University.

Jay Rothman
Jay Rothman is associate Professor in the Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation Program, Bar-Ilan University.
Article

Does Our Field Have a Centre?

Thoughts from the Academy

Keywords Conflict and Peace studies, peacebuilding, pedagogy, George Mason University, S-CAR
Authors Kevin Avruch
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article is a personal reflection on the development of the field of conflict resolution/peace and conflict studies from the perspective of the classroom: how what is thought necessary to teach has changed as the field has grown and reacted to often turbulent political change


Kevin Avruch
Henry Hart Rice Professor of Conflict Resolution & Professor of Anthropology, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. I thank my colleagues Arthur Romano, Richard Rubenstein, and Dennis Sandole for their careful and critical reading of earlier drafts of this essay, and Oliver Ramsbotham for his critical reading of a later one. Their various suggestions greatly improved the work.
Article

The Historical Contingencies of Conflict Resolution

Keywords History of ADR, consensus building, multi-party dispute resolution, theory development, conflict handling
Authors Carrie Menkel-Meadow
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article reviews the historical contingency of theory and practice in conflict engagement. World War II and the Cold War produced adversarial, distributive, competitive, and scarce resources conceptions of negotiation and conflict resolution, as evidenced by game theory and negotiation practice. More recent and more optimistic theory and practice has focused on party needs and interests and hopes for more party-tailored, contingent, flexible, participatory and more integrative and creative solutions for more than two disputants to a conflict. The current challenges of our present history are explored: continued conflict in both domestic and international settings, the challenge of “scaling up” conflict resolution theory and the problematics of developing universal theory in highly contextualized and diverse sets of conflict sites. The limits of “rationality” in conflict resolution is explored where feelings and ethical, religious and other values may be just as important in conflict engagement and handling.


Carrie Menkel-Meadow
Chancellor’s Professor of Law, University of California Irvine Law School and A.B. Chettle Jr. Professor of Dispute Resolution and Civil Procedure, Georgetown University Law Center.
Article

Is There a Theory of Radical Disagreement?

Keywords Radical disagreement, linguistic intractability, agonistic dialogue, conflict engagement
Authors Oliver Ramsbotham
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article concerns linguistic intractability, the verbal aspect of those conflicts that so far cannot be settled or transformed. At its heart lies the phenomenon of radical disagreement. This is generally discounted in conflict resolution as positional or adversarial debate. It is seen as a terminus to dialogue that must from the outset be transformed, not learnt from. In this article the refusal to take radical disagreement seriously is traced back to the way radical disagreement is described and explained in the third party theories that frame attempts at settlement and resolution in the first place.
    On pp. 58-60 a theory of radical disagreement is contrasted with an example. In the theory radical disagreement is described as a juxtaposition of equivalent subjective narratives that do not ‘reflect truth’ but merely serve as ‘motivational tools’ for group survival. In the example, it can be seen that neither speaker is saying that. The Palestinian claim (A) is not about a subjective narrative or motivational tool, but about a lived reality endured for 60 years. And the Israeli claim (B) is not about a juxtaposition of equivalent accounts, but a fierce refutation of faults and misrepresentations in what the other says. This mismatch between third party theory and participant example explains a great deal about why third party interventions based on those theoretical assumptions fail.
    The rest of the article looks at a range of putative theories invoked in conflict analysis and conflict resolution. This is a search for third party descriptions and explanations that are adequate to examples of what they purport to describe and explain. Surprisingly the net is hauled in empty. The interim conclusion to this article is that there is no adequate theory of radical disagreement.
    In the first issue of the International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, this article sets the scene for an exploration of the relationship between engagement and resolution that it is hoped will be developed in future issues. It will be argued there that the practical implication of the discovery that there is no adequate theory of radical disagreement is that in intractable conflicts it is a mistake to ignore this phenomenon. Radical disagreement is not all too familiar but perhaps the least familiar feature of intense political conflict. What is required in the face of linguistic intractability, therefore, is not less radical disagreement but more – namely promotion of a ‘strategic engagement of discourses’. Only then is it possible to move from engagement to resolution and to create the space for a future revival of attempts at settlement and transformation in the linguistic sphere.


Oliver Ramsbotham
Emeritus Professor of Conflict Resolution, University of Bradford. Paper first presented at the Conflict Research Society Annual Conference, Coventry, September 2012.
Article

Conflict Resolution as a Profession and the Need for Communities of Inquiry

Keywords Reflective practice, conflict resolution, professional education, community of inquiry, expertise
Authors Tamra Pearson d’Estrée
AbstractAuthor's information

    Conflict resolution has obtained the markings of a profession, including published journals, professional associations and academic programs. However, professional status also carries with it expectations and obligations upon which conflict resolution as a community should deliberate. Acknowledging conflict resolution as a profession highlights associated responsibilities around knowledge accumulation and ethical practice. Complexities of modern practice call for reuniting theory, research and practice, and updating our professional educational paradigm. Competent modern conflict resolution professionals must be able to innovate and adapt to novel and complex contexts, and must develop communities of inquiry for learning that is public, shared and cumulative. Because of the time constraints facing many professionals, and the lack of structure for reflection, a combination of direct community conversation and periodic journal review would likely be the most realistic for nurturing the needed reflection, continual learning and paradigm critique that results in system learning by the community of conflict resolution professionals.


Tamra Pearson d’Estrée
Henry R. Luce Professor of Conflict Resolution in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Co-Director, Conflict Resolution Institute, University of Denver.
Article

Crises and Opportunities:

Six Contemporary Challenges for Increasing Probabilities for Sustainable Peace

Keywords Conflict resolution, peace, evidence-based practice, gender, systems
Authors Peter T. Coleman
AbstractAuthor's information

    The news from the field of peace and conflict studies is mixed. It is evident that the increasing complexity, interdependence and technological sophistication of conflict, violence and war today introduce many new challenges to peace-keeping, making and building. However, it is also likely that these trends present new opportunities for fostering and sustaining peace. If our field is to capitalize on such prospects, it will need to more effectively understand and address several basic dilemmas inherent to how we approach our work. This paper outlines six contemporary challenges, and suggests some options for addressing them.


Peter T. Coleman
Director of International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution and Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College and The Earth Institute at Columbia University.
Article

Relational Constructionism

Generative Theory and Practice for Conflict Engagement and Resolution

Keywords Conflict transformation, conflict resolution, action research, positioning theory, relational constructionism
Authors Nikki R. Slocum-Bradley
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article draws upon relational constructionist ideas to facilitate a meta-theoretical shift in conflict engagement and transformation. Based upon insight into conceptual and relational inter-dependency, two tasks are suggested as key aims for future work: 1) nurturing a profound respect for inter-dependent self/other and appreciation for relationships, and 2) developing skills to construct nurturing, generative relationships. Underscoring that research, theory-building and other aspects of scholarship are in themselves practices, the author encourages the design of these and other practices to facilitate conflict transformation. Exploring the implications of relational constructionist insights, an approach is proposed that merges the boundaries of theory-building, research methodology, and conflict engagement: Action Research for the Transformation of Conflicts (ART-C). While ART-C provides a process that facilitates the construction of cooperative relationships, insights from Positioning Theory illuminate how actors co-construct relationships by evoking meanings and norms that guide action. These concepts are applied to a variety of examples from around the globe that illustrate the transformation of identities, relationships and conflicts.


Nikki R. Slocum-Bradley
Associate Research Fellow, United Nations University (UNU-CRIS).