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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

2000, Vol. 3 No. 1 .

Conflict Resolution: Dynamics, Process and Structure
Ho-Won Jeong ed

(Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999)
238pp. Index. Bibl. Hb.: 45.00 ISBN 1-8401-4083-6

The contributors to Conflict Resolution: Dynamics, Process, and Structure attempt to bridge the gap between intra-personal, interpersonal, and societal-based discourse on conflict resolution. This volume focuses on the interplay between social and psychological influences of conflict and its resolution. Following a broad overview by Ho-Won Jeong of the current conflict resolution theory, Christopher Mitchell argues for the conception of de-escalation as a separate entity from escalation. Mitchell highlights the intra-party as well as inter-party processes that occur during de-escalation and suggests several characteristics of successful de-escalation. Ho-Won Jeong and Tarja Vayrynen explain the ways in which the promotion of particular identities lead to violent strife and analyze the means of transforming social identities. Promoting interactive dialogue and conflict analysis as a means of successful reconciliation, Ronald Fisher explains the processes and results of conflict and analysis supporting reconciliation. Continuing the theme of reconciliation, Dr. Louis Kriesberg considers the process of developing mutually conciliatory accommodation between contentious parties. He suggests structural, experiential and interpersonal methods of promoting mutual accommodation. Considering the impact of mass social violence, Malvern Lumsden suggests that post-war societies have social, political, and economic stress in conjunction with psychological trauma. As individual and small group therapeutic treatments are insufficient means for reconstructing the macro-level of society, Lumsden proposes methods of bridging the reconstruction of society and self on the community level. Franklin Dukes explains the role of structural forces, such as cultural, class, gender and racial differences, in social conflict and their influence on conflict resolution efforts. From another viewpoint, Richard Rubenstein suggests that the structural conditions of hegemonic power relations need to be restructured for the resolution of conflict. Rubenstein acknowledges that the deep social culture influenced by the current socioeconomic system provides a challenge in changing social structure in which conflict is imbedded.

Overall, this volume answers the challenge of forming a systematic way of thinking about and creating conceptual strategies for a future knowledge bank of conflict resolution practice. This body of work further encourages theorists and practitioners to continue the dialogue.

George Mason University

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