At the deepest level it is lodged in the narratives

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rarely explicitly addressed, identity shapes and moves the expression of conflict. At the deepest level it is lodged in the narratives of how people see themselves, who they are, where they come from, and what they fear they will become. It is also deeply rooted in their relationships with others. A central challenge for transformation is how to create spaces and processes that encourage people to address and articulate a positive sense of identity in relationship to others but not in reaction to them. This can be accomplished in three ways. First, be attentive to language, metaphors, and expressions that signal the distresses of identity. In order to deal with core issues of identity, one must acknowledge them as issues. Second, move toward appeals to identity rather than away from them. Acknowledge that the conflict requires a process that more explicitly addresses issues of identity and relationship. Generating solutions to immediate problems is not enough. Third, design transformation processes as dynamic platforms that create repeating patterns of exchange and exploration rather than produce immediate negotiated solutions. Three guiding principles that characterize this process of exchange and exploration: honesty, iterative (i.e. repeating and cumulative) learning, and appropriate exchange . First, we should work toward the creation of spaces where people feel safe enough to be deeply honest with themselves and others about their fears, hopes, hurts and responsibilities. Honesty reflects parties' sense of safety and builds trust . Second, we must create multiple points of access and repetitive examination for addressing identity. The negotiation and definition of identity is a complex process that requires processes of interaction with others as well as
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inner reflection about self. Identity work is not a one-time decision-making process, but rather an ongoing learning process about self and other. This requires an iterative platform for addressing identity concerns within a framework of broader constructive change. Third, appropriate exchange calls attention to the need to design work on identity in ways that respect people. Beyond direct face-to-face dialogue , there are many ways that learning and deepening understanding about identity and relationship can occur. This includes dialogue-as-music, dialogue-as-sport, and dialogue-as-shared-work to preserve old city centers, parks and mountains. All of these may do more than traditional dialogue to advance learning and understanding. In addition, it is important to be attentive to people's perceptions of how identity is linked to power and the definition of the systems and structures that organize and govern their relationships. This is particularly important for people who feel their identity is eroded, marginalized or under deep threat. When addressing identity-based concerns, processes must strive to understand the roots of people's perceptions and address the systemic changes needed to assure access and respectful participation.
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