Conflict Resolution and Non Violent Paradigms

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Conflict Resolution: Peace through the Power of Communication The third paradigm, conflict resolution, offers a highly pragmatic approach to peace through the development and refinement of skills for analyzing conflicts and responding to them with effective strategies of communication and negotiation. Where protagonists of world order concern themselves primarily with macro-level, structural issues such as distributive justice and the institutionalization of international cooperation, practitioners of conflict resolution focus more on processes of interaction among individuals and groups and on the relationships that characterize them. According to the conflict resolution paradigm, conflict is natural at all levels of human interaction and organization, from the interpersonal to the interethnic and international. Although it can cause estrangement and great human suffering, conflict does not inevitably lead to violence, and is often necessary for major changes in relationships and social systems (e.g., the American civil rights movement). Peace, then, is understood as a continuous process of skillfully dealing with and, whenever possible, preventing or transforming conflict. To manage and resolve conflicts effectively, we must become aware of our attitudes towards conflict and our habitual conflict management styles (competitive, collaborative, avoidant, submissive, etc.), so as to attain to greater freedom to define our own responses in a proactive and coordinated (as opposed to reactive and incoherent) way. Such awareness increases our chances of achieving "win-win" rather than "win-lose" or "lose-lose" solutions. We learn to understand and work with our own emotions, to generate openness to more authentic communication, and to control processes that might otherwise lead to escalation. To respond effectively to conflict, conflict resolution theorists and

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