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Article

Process Pluralism in Transitional-Restorative Justice

Lessons from Dispute Resolution for Cultural Variations in Goals beyond Rule of Law and Democracy Development (Argentina and Chile)

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2015
Keywords transitional justice, conflict resolution, process pluralism, cultural variation, individual and collective justice
Authors Carrie Menkel-Meadow
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article reviews some of the key issues in transitional justice process and institutional design, based on my research and experience working and living in several post-conflict societies, and suggests that cultural and political variations in transitional justice design, practices, and processes are necessary to accomplish plural goals. The idea of process pluralism, derived from the more general fields of conflict resolution and ‘alternative dispute resolution’ in legal contexts, is an essential part of transitional justice, where multiple processes may occur simultaneously or in sequence over time (e.g. truth and reconciliation processes, with or without amnesty, prosecutions, lustration and/or more local legal and communitarian processes), depending on both individual and collective preferences and resources. Transitional justice is itself ‘in transition’ as iterative learning has developed from assessment of different processes in different contexts (post-military dictatorships, civil wars, and international and sub-national conflicts). This article draws on examples from Argentina’s and Chile’s emergence from post-military dictatorships to describe and analyze a plurality of processes, including more formal governmental processes, but also those formed by civil society groups at sub-national levels. This article suggests that ‘democracy development’ and legalistic ‘rule of law’ goals and institutional design may not necessarily be the only desiderata in transitional justice, where more than the ‘legal’ and ‘governmental’ is at stake for more peaceful human flourishing. To use an important concept from dispute resolution, the “forum must fit the fuss”, and there are many different kinds of ‘fusses’ to be dealt with in transitional justice, at different levels of society – more than legal and governmental but also social, cultural and reparative.


Carrie Menkel-Meadow
Carrie Menkel-Meadow is Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California, Irvine.
Article

Responsibility and Peace Activism: Lessons from the Balkans

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 2 2014
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.
Article

The Historical Contingencies of Conflict Resolution

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2013
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

Crises and Opportunities:

Six Contemporary Challenges for Increasing Probabilities for Sustainable Peace

Journal International Journal of Conflict Engagement and Resolution, Issue 1 2013
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.
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