Conflict Frontiers Seminar 3 -- Introduction to Complexity and "Systems Thinking:" Theoretical Antecedents


Brown Bag Seminar / Course

Frontiers Seminar Series Homepage

Frontiers Seminar 2 ended by explaining the shortcomings of the past conflict resolution paradigms, and calling for a new "complexity" or "systems" paradigm for conflict and its resolution. Brown Bag # 3 introduces a number of conflict theories and theorists who have been developing such an approach to conflict over the last 20 or so years.  The posts in this unit include:

Conflict Frontiers Posts

Conflict Fundamentals Posts

  • John Paul Lederach on Transformation -- More detail about how conflict transformation is different than resolution--and much more applicable to intractable conflicts.
  • Lederach's Pyramid -- A well-known diagram from Building Peace,this essay explains the roles of top-level, mid-level, and grassroots leadership.
  • Lederach's "Meeting Place" -- None of these are simple and it is very hard to have all four together. But doing so, says Lederach "is the meeting place of reconciliation."
  • Ury's "Third Side"' -- Ury describes 10 third side roles that both conflict insiders and outsiders can play to help make conflicts more constructive.

Beyond Intractability Knowledge Base Essays

  • Multi-Track Diplomacy -- Peacebuilding is seen by many participants to have many "tracks" beyond just track I and track II. This essay explains the concept of multi-track diplomacy, developed by Louise Diamond and John MacDonald.
  • Meta-Conflict Resolution -- Many conflict resolvers emphasize mediation, dialogue, or problem solving workshops as solutions to conflict. But intractable conflicts usually need a much more comprehensive approach. This article describes such an approach and articulates the various roles that must be carried out to successfully transform these conflicts.

Beyond Intractability in Context Posts

Seminar videos (listed above) contain additional "BI in Context" references.

Related Colleague Activity Posts:

Photo Credits