Addressing Intractable Conflict Through Interactive Problem-Solving

Tamra Pearson d'Estrée

in The Oxford Handbook of Intergroup Conflict

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747672
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Addressing Intractable Conflict Through Interactive Problem-Solving

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Conflict, defined as a perceived divergence of interests, goals, values or needs, can be both constructive and destructive (Curle, 1971; Deutsch, 1973; Rubin, Pruitt, & Kim, 1994). However, intractable conflicts become mires of human misery that trap parties in spirals of recrimination, dehumanization, and violence. What is needed to change this dynamic is intervention into the interaction itself, such that one can reperceive the other, reassess priorities and options, and design joint solutions. This chapter discusses interactive problem-solving as one method useful for creating both new intergroup attitudes and joint solutions. This social-psychologically informed approach is uniquely positioned to engage conflicting parties in both relational change and concrete solution building, with the added potential to impact structural injustices that anchor intractable conflicts.

Keywords: Intergroup conflict; conflict escalation; conflict resolution; problem-solving; diplomacy; peacebuilding; peace

Article.  16949 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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