Discussion 3: Business as Usual in the Conflict Field

In several of our "Business-As-Usual" posts, I assert that the conflict resolution field is still working with strategies that were designed for small-scale, relatively simple conflicts.  There is a tendency to fall back on a few standard approaches (for instance interest-based bargaining and consensus-building), even in situations where they are not at all appropriate.  There also is a tendency to avoid what we refer to as the "scale up" problem.  In other words, the assumption is made that is a change can be created at a table with 20 people around it, all you need to do is hold many similar discussions with other groups of 20, and the problem will be solve or at least transformed.  

  1. If you agree with our assertion that business-as-usual assumptions are preventing our field from being successful in intractable conflicts, what assumptions do you see that are most problematic?  How do they need to be altered?
  2. What actions or activities do you see among scholars and/or practitioners that are preventing us from successfully grappling with the most difficult conflicts? How might they be altered?
  3. Do you know of anyone who is doing a particularly good job and reframing conflict strategies to better address intractable conflicts?  Who are they and what are they doing?  (It's okay to brag about yourself here if you are challenging "business-as-usual approaches." 

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