The Conflict Fundamentals Seminar


Spring 2017
Seminar Syllabus and Posts to Date 

Links to articles covering each topic are added as they are posted over the course of the seminar.


Introduction

This seminar presents the core knowledge from the conflict resolution and peacebuilding fields, that is, to a large extent, considered a "starting point" for our more advanced Conflict Frontiers Seminar.   This seminar is made up of a videos and Beyond Intractability essays that cover the largely "settled knowledge" in the field, for example a description of negotiation strategies, approaches to dialogue, the importance of  human needs in conflict, etc. A few of the essays and videos (for instance the first few) are sufficiently important to be included in both seminars, but most of the material is different.

This seminar, we expect, will be of interest to people unfamiliar with the conflict resolution field, or those just starting to study it.

Notes:

  • Unit 0 and Unit 1 are the same in this seminar and the Fundamentals Seminar. Starting with Unit 2, the two seminars diverge.
  • Also, Units 0 and 1 are being "pre-posted," meaning they are available on Beyond Intractability starting on March 15, even though we won't start sending them out on the social networks until March 20.  Unit 2 is planned to start April 3, 2017--both here and on the social networks.
  • If you see a topic on this list which has not yet been posted, in most cases it currently exists as a Beyond Intractability essay.  You can search for the existing BI essay with the search tool before the essay is posted as part of this Fundamentals Seminar. 
  • While we have quite a few discussion questions linked to the Frontiers Seminar Posts, we do not have nearly as many here.  However, the posts that are cross-posted between the two seminars often do have discussions attached to them.  Those are indicated with the symbol [D#] and can be accessed from the posts they relate to, once those posts are released.  
  • We do have three questions that relate to all the fundamentals posts, however.  They are indicated with the codes FD (Fundamentals Discussion) 1, 2, and 3:

 


Seminar Topics / Syllabus


New posts can be found here or you can sign up to receive them on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Alternatively, you can get an email compliation of each unit by signing up for our newsletter.

Section I: Understanding the Intractable Conflict Problem

"Pre-Posts" -- Introduction to the MOOS Unit 0: Introduction to the MOOS (Note: This unit and Unit 2 are the same in this seminar and the Frontiers Seminar. Starting with Unit 3, the seminars diverge.)

  1. Invitation and Welcome -- April 5, 2017
  2. The Intractable Conflict Challenge -- April 5, 2017
  3. A Complexity-Oriented Approach -- April 6, 2017
  4. MOOS Audiences -- April 6, 2017
  5. MOOS Seminars -- April 7, 2017
  6. The Conflict Fundamentals Seminar -- April 7, 2017
  7. Conflict Frontiers Seminar -- April 8, 2017
  8. Accessing MOOS Content -- April 9, 2017

Unit 1: The Intractable Conflict Problem

  1. Why Can't We Fix Anything Anymore? [D1] [D2]-- April 10, 2017
  2. What Are Intractable Conflicts? [D2]-- April 11, 2017
  3. What Makes Conflicts Intractable? -- April 12, 2017
  4. Intractable Conflict: A "Climate Change-Class" Problem [D1 part 3] -- April 13, 2017
  5. Limits to Growth, Tragedies of the Commons, & the Conflict Problem -- April 14, 2017

Unit 2: Core Concepts:

  1. Conflicts and Disputes -- April 17, 2017
  2. Complex and Complicated Systems - April 19, 2017
  3. Interests, Positions, Needs, and Values  -- April 20, 2017
  4. Settlement, Resolution, Management, and Transformation -- April 21, 2017
  5. John Paul Lederach on Transformation -- April 24, 2017
  6. Reconciliation -- April 25, 2017
  7. Lederach's "Meeting Place" - April 26, 2017

Unit 3: Parties

  1. First parties, third parties, and third siders
  2. Ury's "Third Side"'
  3. Leaders and leadership
  4. Lederach's Pyramid
  5. "Extremists" and Spoilers

Part II: Examining Causes of Intractable Conflicts

Unit 4:  Core Factors

  1. Core and overlay distinction - Parts 1 and 2
  2. High-Stakes Distributional Issues
  3. Inequality
  4. Moral Conflicts
  5. Identity Issues
  6. Status and power struggles
  7. Power sources
  8. Oppression
  9. Humiliation

Unit 5: Overlay Factors

  1. Framing and other Psychological Factors
  2. Framing and Reframing
  3. Identity Frames
  4. Stereotypes and Enemy Images
  5. Cultural and Worldview Frames
  6. Win/lose, competitive/cooperative & into-the-sea framing
  7. Rational and nonrational decision-making
  8. Other psychological dynamics
  9. Cognitive dissonance/confirmation bias and the sacrifice trap
  10. Other cognitive biases
  11. Conflict Communication
  12. Misunderstandings
  13. Closed Channels of Communication
  14. Distrust
  15. Conflicts over "facts"
  16. Fact-finding problems
  17. Ways of learning and knowing
  18. Distrust of experts, science, and technical facts
  19. Confusing facts and values
  20. Analysis paralysis, certainty trap, ilnumeracy, qed syndrome
  21. Destructive conflict dynamics
  22. Escalation spirals and positive feedback loops
  23. Polarization
  24. Conflict History
  25. Conflict Ethos
  26. Unrightable wrongs
  27. Justice in the Context of Unrightable Wrongs
  28. Retributive Justice
  29. Restorative Justice
  30. Distributive Justice
  31. Procedural problems
  32. Procedural justice
  33. Distrust of Process or People
  34. Spoilers

Unit 6:  Power and Conflict

  1. Understanding power (power sources and power strategies)
  2. Over-reliance on coercive power/backlash
  3. Integrative power
  4. Power strategy mix
  5. Power Hierarchy
  6. Legitimate and illegitimate power

Unit 7: Culture and Conflict

  1. The Role of Culture (Culture & Conflict)
  2. Culture and Worldview Frames (reprise) (Trap 8: Cultural blinders)
  3. Cross-Cultural Communication
  4. Communication-tools for Cultural Differences
  5. Culture-Based Negotiation Styles

Part III: Conflict Transformation Processes

Unit 8: Conflict Assessment

  1. Theories of Change
  2. Conflict Assessment
  3. Graphical Conflict Mapping
  4. Formative Evaluation

Unit 9: Exploring Alternative Goals

  1. Recent Peace and Conflict Paradigms
  2. Conflict styles/dual concern model
  3. Settlement, Resolution, Management, and Transformation (Reprise)
  4. Meeting Place (reprise)
  5. Visioning

​Unit 10: Improving Relationships

  1. Improved communication
  2. I-messages
  3. Empathic listening
  4. Creating safe spaces for communication
  5. Dialogue
  6. Cross-cultural communication
  7. Communication Tools for Understanding Cultural Differences
  8. Rumor Control
  9. Managing distrust
  10. Building Trust
  11. Expert/non-expert trust building activities
  12. Respect (reprise)
  13. Face-saving actions
  14. Apology and Forgiveness
  15. Tolerance and Coexistence
  16. Community-Building Activities
  17. Integrative Power (reprise)

Unit 11: Exchange Power and Negotiation

  1. Exchange Power
  2. Ripeness
  3. Ripeness Promoting Strategies
  4. Conflict styles/ dual concern model (reprise)
  5. Distributive (positional) bargaining
  6. Interest-based (integrative) bargaining
  7. BATNA
  8. ZOPA
  9. Islands of collaboration within conflict

Unit 12: Alternative Dispute Resolution

  1. Traditional Third Party Processes
  2. Facilitation
  3. Mediation
  4. Collaborative Problem Solving and Consensus Building
  5. Dialogue (reprise)
  6. ​Arbitration
  7. Adjudication
  8. Dispute Systems Design
  9. Which Dispute Resolution Process is Best?
  10. When to Mediate
  11. When to Arbitrate
  12. When to Litigate
  13. How to Find a Mediator
  14. How to Find an Arbitrator
  15. William Ury's "Third Side" Roles
  16. Prevention roles
  17. Resolution roles
  18. Containment roles

Unit 13: Peace Processes

  1. Preventive Diplomacy and Violence Prevention
  2. Peacemaking
  3. Track I Diplomacy
  4. Track II Diplomacy
  5. Track I - Track II Cooperation
  6. Peacekeeping
  7. Peacebuilding
  8. Training
  9. Dialogue
  10. Analytical Problem Solving/Problem-Solving Workshops
  11. Trauma Healing
  12. Narratives and Story-Telling
  13. Apology and Forgiveness (reprise)
  14. Peace Education
  15. Joint Projects
  16. Disarmament, Demobilization, and Re-Integration
  17. Nation Building
  18. Transitional Justice
  19. Retributive Justice (Tribunals)
  20. Restorative Justice (Truth Commissions)
  21. Election Reform and Monitoring
  22. Evaluation and Assessment of Interventions
  23. Evaluation as a Tool for Reflection