Fundamentals Seminar Blog

Constructive Confrontation Initiative Spring 2018 Posts to Date
See Syllabus for additional background posts and planned, future posts (many of which are now accessible).
Other Blogs: MOOS Conflict Frontiers | BI in Context | Colleague Activities
Posts ordered from most recent to earliest.

  • Update and Current Implications of Chip Hauss's 2003 Essay on Reconciliation
  • Reconciliation - Update and Current Implications
    An essay considering whether the time is right for political reconciliation in the U.S., and how it might be accomplished.
  • Conflict Styles
    Competition, collaboration, compromise, avoidance, and accommodation all have costs and benefits. Know which is best when!
  • Constructive Escalation
    By choosing one's conflict strategies carefully, it is possible to win the support of people on the other side without causing backlash.
  • Destructive Escalation
    Destructive escalation is the most dangerous force on the planet. The "enemy" is not the other side; it is destructive escalation.
  • Principles of Justice and Fairness
    "Justice" can mean very different things to different people, and the outcomes of each are very different.
  • Types of Justice
    It is hard to fight for justice when you don't know what it means. This essay helps you decide what types of justice are worth fighting for.
  • Overcoming Oppression Through Persuasion
    Persuasion doesn't have the risks that come with the use of force, and can be very effective.
  • Overcoming Oppression With Power
    When persuasion isn't enough, power must be added to overcome oppression. But that doesn't mean violence.
  • Overcoming Oppression: Awakening the Sense of Injustice
    Many have recently awakened to U.S. injustice--but will this awakening last?
  • Maintaining Oppression
    All four need to be understood and addressed if oppression is to be overcome.
  • Forms of Oppression
    In addition to distributive, procedural, and retributive injustice, moral exclusion and cultural imperialism are also oppression.
  • The Nature and Origins of Oppression
    Hunter/gatherer societies were relatively egalitarian, but agriculture encouraged and enabled the formation of a social hierarchy.
  • Oppression and Conflict: Introduction
    This intro to a 6-essay series focuses on the causes and impacts of oppression and how it can be overcome.
  • Dehumanization
    Research on dehumanization is very clear: such speech increases the likelihood of violence, even genocide.
  • Theories of Change
    Peacebuilders use many theories of change, yet they seldom describe them explicitly. Doing so would improve their outcomes and others' knowledge.
  • Into-the-Sea Framing
    Total refusal to live with the "other side" results in into-the-sea framing and deep intractability.
  • Face
    Humiliation is an extremely powerful negative emotion, while allowing someone to save face is the antidote that helps resolve conflicts.
  • Enemy Images
    Enemy images deepen our socio-economics and political problems, while they make effective problem solving impossible.
  • Respect
    The opposite of humiliation, respect is almost a magic pill helping to jump start conflict transformation.
  • Conflicts and Disputes
    Distinguishing between conflicts and disputes is essential for successful engagement in each.
  • Complex Adaptive Systems
    Successfully working with complex system requires us to challenge many of our assumptions and understand the limits of rational planning.
  • Channels of Communication
    When channels of communication between hostile actors close, risks of destructive conflict raise substantially.
  • Factual Disputes
    An overview of the many kinds of disputes over facts that arise in conflicts--and what to do about them. Although getting worse, this problem isn't new!
  • Misunderstandings
    Even if the misunderstandings do not cause conflict, they can escalate it rapidly once it starts.