Intractable Conflict as an Attractor: Presenting a Dynamical Model of Conflict, Escalation, and Intractability
42 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2005
Date Written: June 1, 2005
Decades of research on social conflict has contributed to our understanding of a variety of key psychological, social, and community-based aspects of conflict escalation and intractability. However, the field has yet to put forth a formal theoretical model that links these components to the basic underlying mechanisms that account for intractability and transformation. This paper presents such a model: a dynamical-systems model of intractable conflict. We propose that it is particularly useful to conceptualize ongoing, destructive patterns of intractable conflict as strong attractors: a particular form of self-organization of multiple elements of conflict systems, including psychological, social, and community-level factors. Our dynamical model of conflict intractability is specified, and some preliminary implications of this approach for conflict de-escalation are discussed.
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