BI/CRQ Discussion Focus and Framing Articles

Hyperpolarization discussion masthead graphic

by Heidi Burgess and Guy Burgess

June 26, 2022

Overview and Background

CRQ LogoAs a continuation of Beyond Intractability's Constructive Conflict Initiative, BI Co-Directors Guy and Heidi Burgess, together with Sanda Kaufman,  published a "Feature Article" in the Summer 2022 Edition of the Conflict Resolution Quarterly entitled Applying conflict resolution insights to the hyper-polarized, society-wide conflicts threatening liberal democracies. Our goal and the goal of CRQ's new Feature Article Series is to generate a wide-ranging discussion among those with conflict resolution-related expertise about issues of critical  importance to the field and to society as a whole. 

Our article asks us all to think about how we might better be able to bring our insights to bear on the runaway conflicts that are tearing apart so many societies.  Among the tough problems to be addressed by the discussion are the scale and complexity of society-wide conflict, the challenges posed by bad-faith actors who are deliberately working to amplify our divisions, and increasing public skepticism about compromise-oriented approaches to governance. This discussion is being hosted here, on the Beyond Intractability site. 

Our invitation to the discussion as well as CRQ editor Helena Desivilya Syna's invitation below give a bit more background about the purpose of this discussion, from BI's and CRQs point of view.  

This discussion is the latest in a series of projects undertaken over the last 30+ years by the Conflict Information Consortium (home of Beyond Intractability) and its related projects. Throughout its history, CIC's focus has been on using web-based information systems to speed the flow of information on strategies for more constructively handling our most intractable conflicts. All of the information generated by the hundreds of participants in these projects is now freely available on the Beyond Intractability website.

The BI/CRQ Discussion is an outgrowth of BI's earlier Constructive Conflict Initiative — an attempt to build support for a dramatically expanded effort to to find better ways of dealing with complex conflict problems like hyper-polarization.

Feature Article and Initial Commentaries

We offer. as starting point for the discussion. our full CRQ article, which is coming out in July 2022 in paper,  but is already available to read online for free. Also already available are three "commentaries," written by Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Connie Ozawa, and Barney Jordaan.


Discussion Content by Topic

To make it easier to see how the many insights emerging from the BI/CRQ discussion and related Beyond Intractability projects fit into a comprehensive, "massively parallel" strategy for addressing the hyper-polarization problem, we are starting to organize available materials around the conceptual structure introduced in the CRQ Feature Article and further developed in the Secondary Framing Article on the advantages of thinking of democracy is a dispute handling system.  The first step in this process is a collection of materials that explore five major topic areas related to the discussion: the hyper-polarization threat, scale and complexity, bad-faith actors, good-faith actors, and scale-up examples.