Conclusions the lenses of conflict transformation

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Conclusions The lenses of conflict transformation focus on the potential for constructive change emergent from and catalyzed by the rise of social conflict. Because the potential for broader change is inherent in any episode of conflict, from personal to structural levels, the lenses can easily be applied to a wide range of conflicts. A key advantage to this framework lies in its capacity to think about multiple avenues of response. To use our earlier comparison, we suggested that transformation builds on and integrates the contribution and strengths of conflict-resolution approaches. A transformational approach inquires about both the specifics, immediately apparent in the episode of conflict, as well as the potential for broader constructive and desired change. Clearly there are arenas in which transformation is limited and a quick and direct resolution of the problem is more appropriate. In disputes where parties need a quick and final solution to a problem and do not have a significant relationship, they typically appeal to negotiation and mediation . In such cases the exploration of relational and structural patterns are of limited value. For example, a one-time business dispute over a payment between two people who hardly know each other and will never have contact again is not a context to explore a transformational application. May the warmth of complexity shine on your face. May the winds of good change blow gently at your back. May your feet find the roads of authenticity. May the web of change begin!
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However, in cases where parties share an extensive past and have the potential for significant future relationships, and where the episodes arise in an organizational, community or broader social context, simple resolution approaches may be too narrow. Though they may solve the immediate problems, they miss the greater potential for constructive change. This is even more significant in contexts where there are repeated and deep-rooted cycles of conflict episodes that have created destructive and violent patterns. In such cases, avenues to promote transformational change should be pursued. Conflict transformation places before us some big questions: Where are we headed? Why do we do this work? What are we hoping to contribute and build? Increasingly, I am convinced that those in the alternative dispute-resolution field and the vast majority of people and communities who wish to find more constructive ways to address conflict in their lives were drawn to the perspectives and practices of conflict resolution because they wanted change. They wanted human societies to move from violent and destructive patterns toward the potential for creative, constructive and nonviolent capacities to deal with human conflict. This means replacing patterns of violence and coercion with respect, creative problem-solving, increased dialogue , and nonviolent mechanisms of social change. To accomplish this, a complex web of change processes under-girded by a transformational understanding of life and relationship is needed.
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