Applying Systems Theory

Peter Coleman

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Director of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

...I think that people have used the heuristic of systems theory in useful ways, Lederach and his theory on sustainable reconciliation processes, McDonald and Diamond in their multi-tract diplomacy-these are examples of people who are taking ideas of systems theory and really trying to apply them. Somebody at George Mason who does multi-level theory-Dennis Sandole-again is trying to take multi-levels and still think of them in linear ways, but complex linear ways with multi-level relationships. Again, those are taking aspects of systems theory and trying to apply them for our understanding of phenomenon and for intervention in that area.

So those are all very worthwhile attempts that use the metaphor or heuristic of systems theory to think about applications.