Multi-Paradigmatic Conflict Analysis Part 2

Posted on May 17, 2012



Continuing to pull on the thread of “Multi-Paradigmatic Conflict Analysis” I have found a conference paper by Cathryn Thurston that begins to frame the problem. 

Professor Thurston suggests that conflict analysis as a constituent part of conflict resolution is neglected. She suggests that conflict interventions have not been designed from the foundation of a comprehensive analysis of the conflict. She further suggests that there is a haphazard approach to conflict analysis framework s with no single source that organizes the major theories of conflict analysis into a single volume that also presents application of those models.

Continuing, Professor Thurston submits that the sources of conflict are the least understood element of conflict analysis. She attributes this to the study of conflict analysis/resolution borrowing theories of conflict from fields. For example, she offers that international relations offer an understanding of conflict through the lenses of power politics. It here that I find the linkage to the Seminar XXI challenge “to provide concrete frameworks for examining how different paradigms suggest fundamentally different, even conflicting, answers to the questions American policymakers must resolve.”

Her paper continues to describe various models of conflict analysis that she has used with her coursework to test these models in practice. Among them she describes Dennis Sandole’s “Three Pillars” framework (understand the conflict itself, the conflict causes and conditions, and objectives of interveners) and Maire Dugan’s oft referenced “Nested Conflict Model” that focuses on the conflict issue and embeds that in the relationship, which in turn is embedded in the subsystem, and yet again in a larger system.

While not yet getting at the framework I am after, this paper did expose me to other frameworks for discussion on the sources of conflict and more importantly help frame the question I am looking to answer.

Other references to add to the bibliography:

Dugan, Maire, “A Nested Theory of Conflict” Women in Leadership 1, no. 1, Summer 1996. (having trouble finding this text)

Lederach, John Paul. Building peace: sustainable reconciliation in divided societies. Washington, D.C. : United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997.

Sandole, Dennis J.D. “Typology” in Conflict, Eds. Sandra Cheldelin, Daniel Druckman, and Larissa Fast, New York, NY: Continuum, 2003.

Thurston, Cathryn. Conference Paper: “Developing a Comprehensive Framework for Conflict Analysis” International Studies Association, 2008.  

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Posted in: foreign policy