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International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution

About this journal  
Issue 2, 2013 Expand all abstracts
Editorial

Taking Stock of the Field: Past, Present and Future. Part II

Authors Michal Alberstein and Jay Rothman
Author's information

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

Experimenting with Conflicts Constructively

In Search of Identity for the Field of Conflict Resolution

Keywords conflict resolution, identity, group identity, constructive engagement, narratives
Authors Michal Alberstein
AbstractAuthor's information

    The field of conflict resolution has developed enough to become diverse and rich with perspectives, yet the common ground between those perspectives – a permanent core essence – has not yet been defined. The use of identity theory, specifically intergroup identity theory, may be the most effective method to understand the field’s foundations. In this article, six possible group identity claims – or grand narratives – are offered. Together, they may form a foundational code for the field, which may be examined and proved in context. Defining the profession of conflict resolution also requires engagement and dialogue with other related professions. In addition to mapping the six grand narratives, this article will suggest how these narratives can at times generate differences with other academic disciplines that deal with conflicts.


Michal Alberstein
Bar-Ilan University, Program in Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation.
Article

Re-thinking Peacebuilding

From Universal Models to Mundane Peace

Keywords peace and conflict research, culture, peacebuilding, democracy, truth speaking
Authors Tarja Väyrynen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article re-theorizes peacebuilding through the critique of the universalizing tendencies prominent in peace and conflict research. The critique is targeted both at the medical analogy and liberal peace theory which epitomize universalism in their own ways. By presenting a case study on a seemingly insignificant, minor and mundane event and person, a Finnish woman Kaisu, the article seeks to demonstrate the usefulness of cultural understanding of peacebuilding and the ethnographic fieldwork methods which open up interesting research questions for the research field. It is shown how peacebuilding is about politics that is ‘not yet’. During peacebuilding society needs to face its troubled past with its full complexity and create a space for constant struggle that does not seek consensus, but rather engages the society in agonistic politics and democracy. Ultimately, the article suggests that the agency of parrhestiastes, truth-speaker, opens up a necessary space for post-conflict peacebuilding as it reveals the fragmented nature of the national self.


Tarja Väyrynen
Tarja Väyrynen has theorized conflict and conflict resolution (e.g. Culture and International Conflict Resolution, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2001; “A Shared Understanding: Gadamer and International Conflict Resolution”, Journal of Peace Research, 42(3): 349-357, 2005). Her most recent work deals with war, peacebuilding, gender, corporeality, collective trauma and post-conflict silences. She is Academy Research Fellow in the School for Social Sciences and Humanities and the director of Research Group on Corporeality, Politics and Migration (COMPORE), University of Tampere, Finland. She worked as the Director and Professor in Tampere Peace Research Institute for eight years before taking up the Academy post in 2008.
Article

Reflections on the Field of Conflict Resolution

Keywords peacebuilding field, culture and conflict resolution, power and conflict resolution, future trends in peacebuilding, critique of peacebuilding
Authors Mohammed Abu-Nimer
AbstractAuthor's information

    Compared with other disciplines in the social sciences, conflict resolution is a relatively new, emerging professional and academic field. Many developments have shaped the current reality and boundaries of the field. This article is an attempt to provide a set of reflections on the major issues, challenges and possible future directions facing the field of conflict resolution. By narrating my own personal and professional journey, I hope to capture certain aspects and perspectives of this field. This is not a comprehensive review or ‘scientific’ charting of the field, nevertheless it attempts to shed light on areas and concepts that are otherwise taken for granted or neglected when the mapping of the field is done through more extensive empirical research. This mapping of conflict resolution after 30 years of practice, teaching and research first involves reflections on the conceptual or so-called theoretical groundings of the field. Second, it examines the various professional practices that have branched out through the last few decades. Third, it identifies some of the current limitations and challenges facing conflict resolution practitioners and scholars in their struggle to position the field in relation to current global realities. The final section discusses possible future directions to address existing gaps and refocus the research agenda of the field.


Mohammed Abu-Nimer
American University, International Peace and Conflict Resolution. E-mail: abunimer@american.edu. Special thanks to Timothy Seidel who reviewed, edited, and made critical comments on this manuscript. Also I am grateful to colleagues in the peace and conflict resolution programs who shared their insights and reflections in the process of writing this essay.
Article

Pracademics

Making Negotiation Theory Implemented, Interdisciplinary, and International

Authors Andrea Kupfer Schneider
AbstractAuthor's information

    Negotiation can be thought of as the tool that facilitates conflict engagement and resolution. As part of, and yet different from, conflict theory, negotiation theory has had a separate parallel development in the last 30 years. The challenges for negotiation theory in the future are similar to those found in the broader conflict theory – ensuring that negotiation theory can be implemented by practitioners; making sure that negotiation theory draws upon a multitude of disciplines; and includes theories, experiences and culture from around the world. The development of negotiation theories in law schools – where communication to resolve disputes is part of the job description – highlights the importance of pracademics and demonstrates how we need effective theories to engage in conflict.


Andrea Kupfer Schneider
Andrea Kupfer Schneider is Professor of Law and Director of the Dispute Resolution Program, Marquette University Law School. Many thanks to the faculty and students at the Conflict Management, Resolution, and Negotiation Program at Bar Ilan University where I first presented this material for their comments and helpful suggestions and to Larry Susskind for the use of the great word “Pracademic” to describe the linkage between theory and practice.
Miscellaneous

Access_open Interview with Bernie Mayer

A Reflective Practitioner

Abstract

    Bernie Mayer is a central figure in conflict engagement. He is a founding partner at one of the pioneering firms in the field, CDR Associates, which became internationally recognized for work in a wide array of conflicts – interpersonal, family, workplace, environmental, governmental and international. A leading practitioner and scholar in the field, Mayer is a prolific author, and teaches at the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Creighton University and Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He has worked across the globe as a mediator, facilitator, teacher, trainer, dispute systems designer and programme administrator.
    In this interview, conducted by IJCER’s Managing Editor, Nofit Amir, Mayer speaks of some central tensions he sees in the field: between optimism and realism, conflict engagement and avoidance, mediation and ally roles. In addition, he urges conflict scholars and practitioners to widen the focus of the field.
    This interview is the first in a series of interviews that will appear in IJCER.