Frames, Framing, and Reframing

Framing in General

Peter Coleman explains how intractable conflicts can be framed positively or negatively.
Sarah Cobb describes the process of "narrative facilitation."
Leo Smyth talks about how framing influences conflict assessment.
Jayne Docherty suggests that metaphors typically play an important role in defining people's worldviews.
Roy Lewicki describes the different ways parties to environmental conflict framed the situation, and how these frames influenced what happened.
Sarah Cobb discusses the ways in which people typically frame their stories about conflict.
Peter Coleman describes five different metaphors or ways of defining what intractable conflicts are all about.
Roy Lewicki describes how frames can be transformative.
Frank Dukes suggests that not all issues pertaining to the environment are framed as environmental concerns.
Sarah Cobb explores circular questions and appreciative inquiry as non-threatening methods to enrich people's narratives.
Roy Lewicki describes what he means by the term "ripe," and how frames influence ripeness.
Suzanne Ghais recommends that mediators explore the past in order to better understand parties' perspectives.
Pamela Aall, of the U.S. Institute of Peace, observes that even educators in conflict zones seem to have (or at least teach) a very simplistic and biased view of the conflict they are involved in.
Another reason why journalism is so important in conflict, observes South African journalist Jannie Botes, is that the media is the only way we get information about conflicts in which we are not personally involved.
Silke Hansen discusses the importance of looking past racial overtones, and focusing on the real issues of a particular conflict.
MediatorRobert Hughes said that people frequently disputed the other side's "facts," but he explained that it was important that each side understand the other side's "perceptions."

Identity and Characterization Frames

Elise Boulding talks about interacting with "others."
Nancy Ferrell talks about the way in which people tend to devalue differences.
Leo Smyth explains that one useful job for a mediator may be to outline where an individual fits into the whole conflict system.
Roy Lewicki observes that even conflict resolvers frame people who disagree with their approach as "all screwed up."
Dennis Sandole, the coercive peacemaking force is necessary for parties to break out of conflict - habituated systems.
Dennis Sandole explains how people in intractable conflicts are frequently afflicted with "cognitive blindness" which prevents them from seeing or understanding the other sides point of view. 10861/
Dennis Sandole talks about the importance of understanding the paradigms of the people involved in the conflict.
Community Relations Service Mediator Silke Hansen describes how it helps to level the playing field by helping community groups prepare for mediation.

Framing Differences

Jayne Docherty suggests that resolving conflicts among parties with fundamentally different world views is extremely difficult.
Suzanne Ghais discusses the challenge of working with parties that have disparate worldviews and very different styles of communication.
Roy Lewicki describes how incompatible frames can lead to intractable conflicts.
Jayne Docherty of Eastern Mennonite University points to varying types of rationality to explain differences in the way parties frame conflict.
S.Y. Bowland discusses mediating conflicts when one party defines the problem as racial; the other does not.


Leo Smyth suggests that one way for parties to challenge their own assumptions is to step back from their conflict and examine someone else's.
In value conflicts, sometimes reframing can help bring resolution, observes Marcia Caton Campbell.
Leo Smyth asserts that reconciling disputants' frames with the "realistic" elements of a conflict can sometimes be difficult.
Suzanne Ghais recommends holding preparatory meetings with each party before mediation. Sometimes she can work on reframing the issues before the parties even get to the table, which makes working at the table easier.
Silke Hansen, a mediator with the U.S. Community Relations Service, talks about the delicate nature of naming an event a "riot" or not.