Conflict is inherent in virtually every aspect of human relations from sport to parliamentary democracy from fashion in the arts to paradigmatic challenges in the sciences and from economic activity to intimate relationships Yet it can become among the most serious social problems humans face when it loses its constructive features and becomes protracted over time with no obvious means of resolutionThis book addresses the subject of intractable social conflict from a new vantage pointHere these types of conflict represent self organizing phenomena emerging uite naturally from the ongoing dynamics in human interaction at any scale from the interpersonal to the international Using the universal language and computational
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Ramework of nonlinear dynamical systems theory in combination with recent insights from social psychology intractable conflict is understood as a system locked in special attractor states that constrain the thoughts and actions of the parties to the conflict The emergence and maintenance of attractors for conflict can be described by means of formal models that incorporate the results of computer simulations experiments field research and archival analyses Multi disciplinary research reflecting these approaches provides encouraging support for the dynamical systems perspectiveImportantly this text presents new views on conflict resolution In contrast to traditional approaches that tend to focus on basic short lived cause.
Effect relations the dynamical perspective emphasizes the temporal patterns and potential for emergence in destructive relations Attractor deconstructionentails restoring complexity to a conflict scenario by isolating elements or changing the feedback loops among them The creation of a latent attractortrades on the tendency toward multi stability in dynamical systems and entails the consolidation of incongruent positive elements into a coherent structure In the bifurcation scenario factors are identified that can change the number and types of attractors in a conflict scenario The implementation of these strategies may hold the key to unlocking intractable conflict creating the potential for constructive social relation.
Robin R Vallacher is Professor of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University a Research Associate in the Center for Complex Systems University of Warsaw Poland and a Research Affiliate in the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation Conflict and Complexity at Columbia University He has been a visiting scholar at University of Texas at Austin University of Bern Switzerland Max Planck Institute