peaceful conflict resolution

I'm home with a cold, being lazy, trying to write something. I've got plenty of things to do but I'm trying to keep writing on this blog. It's quite time-consuming, and easy to neglect, but for a blog to be useful or valuable it's important to keep it up to date.

I'm trying to think through some ideas to do with peaceful conflict resolution, which have a particular relevance to some current political issues, though I can't discuss these at present. 

As discussed in my thesis, a key social condition in our society is that hierarchy and inequality are normalised. Our ways of dealing with conflict probably also reflect this. It's not an area I know much about, but it seems to me we proceed on the basis of ingroups and outgroups, rather than an inclusive socioecological perspective that we're all in this together and we have to make it work.

If we attempted to take such an approach, I think we'd focus much more on resolving conflict at the start, and less on the 'acute' end, as represented by the law or violence (including war) respectively. One aspect would be recognising the validity of other people's point of view: not whether they are right or wrong, but how they see it. Another would be recognising the significance of history and institutionalised power in our society: from an ecofeminist historical perspective, particularly that women and nonwhite people have historically been seen as belonging to the supposedly subordinate sphere of nature and feelings, while white men belong to the supposedly superior sphere of reason, control and leadership.

People need to recognise how much these attitudes are embedded in our society. It's no good just saying 'everyone has to respect each other' - it's true, but it's not enough. If you have one group of people who have been unconsciously taught to believe that they are 'better' at understanding problems and resolving disputes, it's going to screw everything up, because this stuff doesn't operate at the conscious, articulated level.

This is one of the things that 'understanding your privilege' and 'micro-aggressions' are about: the unconscious sense that you are more capable of dealing with situations than others. There's a lot of education needed, however, because people really don't understand this.


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