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International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution


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Issue 2, 2014 Expand all abstracts
Editorial

Correlation of Theory and Practice in Conflict Engagement

Keywords Conflict engagement, theory, practice, conflict resolution, complexity
Authors Jay Rothman, Michal Alberstein and Rafi Nets-Zehngut
Author's information

Jay Rothman
Jay Rothman is Associate Professor in the Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation Program at Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

Michal Alberstein
Michael Alberstein is Head of the Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation Program at Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

Rafi Nets-Zehngut
Rafi Nets-Zehngut is a Teaching Fellow in the Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation Program at Bar-Ilan University, Israel.
Article

A Reformulated Model of Narrative Mediation of Emerging Culture Conflict

Keywords narrative mediation, ethnic and cultural conflict, psychoanalysis of communal violence, peacekeeping
Authors Patrick J Christian
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the theory and practice of narrative mediation as a primary resource in the engagement and resolution of communal cultural violence by military and development advisors operating in under-governed conflict zone. The praxis adopts the narrative therapy practice of Michael White and the narrative mediation model of Winslade & Monk to create an approach to engage rural, tribal communities caught in cycles of violence as perpetrators, victims and bystanders. Because the praxis is employed cross-culturally in sociocentric communities, I have added elements of conflict story discovery and joint mediation therapy to the existing model of deconstruction, externalization and restorying – thus creating a reformulated model. The employment of this narrative therapy and mediation approach was done through my practical field application during 20 years of violent, intra-state conflict in Sudan, Niger, Iraq and Colombia. The implications of continuing narrative mediation as a primary resource would serve to advance the larger praxis of conflict resolution in cultural and ethnic violence.


Patrick J Christian
The author, Lt Colonel, is a doctoral candidate in ethnic and cultural conflict. He is assigned to the US Department of Defense, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. As a US Army Special Forces officer with the United States Special Operations Command, he has researched the sociological breakdown and psychological devolvement of tribes and clans in conflict for over 20 years. As part of the department’s larger engagement of ethnic and cultural conflict, he has worked with communities caught up in violence in Ecuador, Colombia, Iraq, Sudan, Ethiopia, and most recently, Niger.
Article

Culture-Sensitive Mediation: A Hybrid Model for the Israeli Bukharian Community

Keywords Community mediation, traditional communities, ethnic, conflict resolution, cultural sensitivity, Bukharian
Authors David Shimoni
AbstractAuthor's information

    Background: Attempts to practice standard (Western) mediation in a traditional ethnic community – Jewish Bukharians in Ramla, Israel – failed owing to the incompatibility of this mediation with the community’s customs and norms. Purpose: To develop a hybrid model for conflict resolution in this community and traditional communities in general, following an extensive inquiry that examined the cultural characteristics of the Bukharian community in Ramla and the preferences of its members with regard to intervention in conflicts within the group. Methodology: Mixed methods research, combining questionnaires, a focus group and three interviews. Findings: The findings provided an in-depth understanding of the Bukharian community in Ramla, its cultural characteristics and their preference when dealing with conflicts. Largely, from the sample I studied it can be suggested that the Bukharians accept power distances as something natural, that they can tolerate ambiguous situations and tend to avoid direct confrontation and expression of emotions. Most of the informants have a clear preference to turn to respected members of the community when they seek assistance in handling conflicts. These findings allowed the construction of the hybrid mediation model composed of six stages: Intake, Framework Formation, Opening Statements, Emergence of Interests, Options Generation and Agreement. This model calls for co-mediation of a traditional indigenous dignitary with a professional mediator who together conduct a tailor-made mediation. Practical implications: This unique model is most suitable for the Jewish Bukharians, but can also be used by other groups worldwide that share the same cultural characteristics of the Bukharian Jews.


David Shimoni
David Shimoni, PhD, is the director of Goshrim Mediation Center in Israel and a lecturer at the Beit Berl academic college in Israel. His email address is: david@goshrim.com.
Article

Responsibility and Peace Activism: Lessons from the Balkans

Keywords Responsibility, peace activism, non-violence, conflict, dynamical systems, Balkans, Levinas
Authors Borislava Manojlovic
AbstractAuthor's information

    Background: The notion of responsibility for peace in this article is examined through the analysis of stories told by seven peace activists that have chosen to promote peace in the midst of the violent 1990s conflicts in the Balkans by resisting or rejecting violence. Purpose: This study aims to explore what it means to perform responsible action (i.e. why certain individuals choose peace in the midst of conflict, despite danger and risk for themselves), and what makes their peace activities successful. Methodology: The research is based on seven in-depth semi-structured interviews. By means of dynamical systems theory and Levinas’ concept of responsibility, this study traces the positive attractor dynamics within individual narratives of these peace activists, which includes actions or thinking that produce peaceful outcomes in conflict systems. Findings: The findings suggest that inquiry and openness towards the Other rooted in care and responsibility can serve as a positive attractor in a conflict system. Successful peace activities are enabled through learning from past mistakes and creation of inclusive and diverse spaces for interaction in which historical narratives can be expanded and non-violent strategies can be embraced. Originality/value: This study contributes to the body of knowledge on how change leading to peaceful outcomes can be introduced in conflict systems through peace activism and how we can deal with the current and future violent conflicts more constructively. It also helps to bridge the gap between practice of and research on conflict resolution by giving voice to the practitioners and eliciting lessons from the ground.


Borislava Manojlovic
Borislava Manojlovic, PhD, is the director of research projects and professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, USA. Her email address is: borislava.manojlovic@shu.edu.