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Article

Pondering over “Participation” as an Ethics of Conflict Resolution Practice

Leaning towards the “Soft Side of Revolution”

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 2 2016
Keywords participation, structural violence, narrative compression, master-counter narratives
Authors Sara Cobb and Alison Castel
AbstractAuthor's information

    “Participation” has been defined as the engagement of local populations in the design and implementation of peace-building processes in post-conflict settings and it has been presumed to be critically important to sustainable conflict intervention. In this article, we explore this concept, so central to the field of conflict resolution, focusing on a set of problematic assumptions about power and social change that undergird it. As a remedy to these issues, we offer a narrative as a lens on the politics of participation. This lens thickens our description of our own participation as interveners, a reflexive move that is notably missing in most efforts to redress the dark side of “participation” – that it has often been used as a means to upend structural violence, only to contribute to its reproduction. Drawing on the work of Ginwright, specifically his work with black youth in Oakland, CA, we explore participation as a process involving the critical examination of master/counternarratives. By offering a narrative lens on participation, we hope to illuminate a framework for the ethics of conflict resolution practice that enables practitioners to ethically navigate the politics of “participation.”


Sara Cobb
Dr. Sara Cobb is the Drucie French Cumbie Chair at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University. She is also the Director of the Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution at S-CAR that provides a hub for scholarship on narrative approaches to conflict analysis and resolution. Dr. Cobb is widely published and a leader in narrative approaches to conflict resolution.

Alison Castel
Dr. Alison Castel is faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder where she teaches the core curriculum in Peace and Conflict Studies for the International Affairs program and is the Associate Director of the CU in DC internship program. She holds a Ph.D from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University, and is an affiliate of the Center for Narrative and Conflict Resolution at S-CAR.
Article

Documentary Filmmakers

Bridging Practice and Scholarship in Peacebuilding

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2016
Keywords documentary, film, peacebuilding, narratives, storytelling
Authors Dana Townsend and Kuldeep Niraula
AbstractAuthor's information

    In settings characterized by violent conflict, documentary filmmakers serve as a conduit between local experiences and the broader public. Highlighting these experiences requires filmmakers to immerse themselves in a context, digest scholarly findings, interview local sources and organize information into an accessible storyline. Those who utilize this craft often draw from established research or collaborate with scholars to ensure the narrative resonates with people and represents verified events. At the same time, their films contribute to the practice of peacebuilding through a participatory process that focuses on storytelling and community healing. This article explores the dual role of documentary filmmakers by positioning them as potential bridge-builders between practice and scholarship in peacebuilding. Specifically, it looks at the way filmmakers navigate between these realms by countering hegemonic narratives, introducing marginalized voices, contextualizing conflict and sharing stories with a wide audience – while also reflecting on the way their own identities and viewpoints influence this process.


Dana Townsend
Dana Townsend is a PhD student in Psychology and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research focuses on the impact of political violence on youth’s psychological functioning as well as the ways that youth engage with memories of violence and utilize narratives to position themselves in their social worlds. She is also interested in the use of digital storytelling for community engagement, healing and reconciliation.

Kuldeep Niraula
Kuldeep Niraula is a PhD student in Conflict Resolution at George Mason University and graduated with an MA in International Peacebuilding from the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. His MA Thesis, “Addressing the Neglect of Local Peacebuilding Practices through Documentaries: A Case Study of Everyday Gandhis” analyses the possibilities and challenges of using documentaries to share local perspectives of peace with a wider audience.
Article

Pracademics

Making Negotiation Theory Implemented, Interdisciplinary, and International

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 2 2013
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.
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