Group-Conflict Resolution: Sources of Resistance to Reconciliation

By O'Hara, Erin Ann | Law and Contemporary Problems, Spring 2009 | Go to article overview

Group-Conflict Resolution: Sources of Resistance to Reconciliation


O'Hara, Erin Ann, Law and Contemporary Problems


I

INTRODUCTION

In the past few years a number of scholars in a variety of intellectual disciplines have contributed to a better understanding of dyadic conflicts and their resolution. In particular, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, lawyers, and others have explored the dynamics of apology and its role in deescalating disputes and promoting forgiveness and reconciliation. (1) Furthermore, we have a better understanding today of the benefits to individuals from forgiveness and reconciliation. Victims who are able to forgive their transgressors have better psychological and physical health and lead richer lives. (2) Because lawyers tend to focus their attentions on legal disputes, a growing body of legal scholarship attempts to apply these insights to help promote apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation in courts and alternative dispute-resolution fora. (3) This scholarship has in turn provoked a debate among legal scholars regarding the proper use of apology and apology-promoting tools in the context of legal disputes. (4)

The early legal scholarship in this field focused on dyadic disputes. More recently, however, legal scholars have applied the interdisciplinary insights to group conflicts. In the area of apology, for example, one legal scholar has relied on interdisciplinary insights to advocate court-ordered apologies as a civil-rights remedy in cases of civil-rights violations committed against groups of individuals. (5) Similar insights were used to explore the role of apology for helping to resolve international conflicts between states. (6) One author uses these insights to advocate that corporations apologize for product defects and accidents that cause public harm. (7) And another scholar has used the insights to argue that the American Bar Association should apologize and make reparations for its prior exclusion of African American lawyers. (8) Although this development is exciting (after all, who wouldn't like to see group conflicts and civil unrest avoided), most legal scholars have failed to think carefully about potential differences between dyadic and group conflicts and their resolution. To what extent can insights from apology and forgiveness in dyadic disputes be imported into the group-conflict context? How might differences between the two types of disputes necessitate differing dispute-resolution techniques? And specifically, how is disputant resistance to conflict resolution changed or amplified in the group-conflict context? A group of legal scholars at Vanderbilt Law School, affiliated with the Law and Human Behavior Program, wanted to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars whose expertise lies in and around conflict resolution to explore this question.

We partnered with the Andrus Family Fund, which generously provided us with the necessary funding to host this conference. The Andrus Family Fund has provided funding to a number of conflict-resolution practitioners who have played important roles in promoting peace, reconciliation, and problem resolution to groups around the world. (9) Some of the techniques used by the Fund grantees are adapted from the work of William Bridges, (10) who developed a conceptual framework for how people transition to changes that affect their lives in important ways. (11)

The Bridges framework treats transitions in three phases. External changes often require internal psychological transitions, which involve "(1) an ending, (2) a neutral zone, and (3) a new beginning." (12) In the ending phase, the individual struggles to accept the end of an old way of being. Our connections to people and places, jobs, activities, ways of being, and attitudes help to define us, and the loss of any of these connections can cause not just mourning for the loss of that connection but also a kind of crisis of identity. Endings thus can be painful even when the change is desired. (13) According to Bridges, ending experiences typically involve disengagement, dismantling, disidentification, disenchantment, and disorientation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Group-Conflict Resolution: Sources of Resistance to Reconciliation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.