A joint call for a dramatic expansion of efforts to improve society's ability to constructively address the full scale and complexity of the challenges posed by destructive conflicts
May 2019 Draft -- v1.2
Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess
Co-Directors, Beyond Intractability Project, Conflict Information Consortium
In 2019 Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess started the Constructive Conflict Initiative** which had the goal of promoting a dramatic expansion of efforts to limit the destructiveness of the many highly hyper-polarized conflicts that were tearing apart the U.S. and so many other societies.
We argued then and still believe that the biggest (and most neglected) reason why societies worldwide are proving so unable to address their most pressing problems is because they can't constructively handle the intractable conflicts that inevitably surround those problems. The result is a widespread inability to wisely and equitably respond to pressing issues such as pandemics, climate change, immigration, inequality, rising authoritarianism; and expanding violence.
Much as our climate change colleagues have been doing for decades, we believe that those of us with expertise in (or just concern about) the damage being caused by destructive conflict dynamics have an obligation to promote efforts to persuade society to take the intractable conflict problem more seriously.
In the fall of 2021, Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess partnered with Sanda Kaufman to write a feature article for the Conflict Resolution Quarterly which makes these assertions and solicits comments from readers. The resulting CR/Hyperpolarization Discussion is being co-sponsored by CRQ and BI and is being hosted on BI. If you have any thoughts about
- Whether or how conflict resolution scholars or practitioners can contribute to efforts to reduce societal-level hyper-polarization,
- Work you or others are doing to accomplish such ends,
- Resources we should publicize which address this topic,
Please contribute to the discussion by sending your comments through the BI contact system (we are not allowing direct comments to the discussion board to avoid bots, but we will certainly post all comments, including those that disagree with us, as long as they are not hateful or destructive.)