Staying with Conflict: A Strategic Approach to Ongoing Disputes / Edition 1

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Staying with Conflict

As the field of conflict resolution has grown and expanded itsreach, it has increasingly faced the challenge of how to deal withlong-term disputes. The most prevalent approach, with its emphasison prevention, management, and resolution, is often inadequate fordealing with ongoing conflicts that are reflections of fundamentalissues of values, identity, and structure.

In this groundbreaking book, Bernard Mayer, a pioneer in thefield of conflict resolution, offers a new paradigm for dealingwith long-term disputes. Mayer explains that when dealing withenduring conflict, mediators and other conflict resolutionspecialists need to move past the idea of how quickly they canresolve the conflict. Instead, they should focus on how they canhelp people prepare to engage with an issue over time. Once theirattention is directed away from a speedy resolution to a long-termapproach, new avenues of intervention become apparent.

Staying with Conflict builds on the lessons learned and theskills honed from years of effective conflict resolution. Mayertakes the process to the next level and outlines six strategicchallenges that this new long-term process will address:

  • Confront the pervasive and destructive power of conflictavoidance
  • Work with disputants to construct conflict narratives thatencourage an effective approach to long-term disputes
  • Assist in developing durable avenues of communication
  • Help people use power and respond to power wisely
  • Understand and recognize the proper role of agreements withinthe context of long-term conflict
  • Encourage the development of support systems that can sustaindisputants over time

The book is filled with illustrative examples from a broadvariety of conflicts, from the interpersonal to the international.As these stories demonstrate, this new model for working withenduring conflict offers hope for dealing with our struggles associal beings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“I picked up Bernard Mayer’s new book last spring, andhere is the bottom line: its impact on my practice wasinstant…What is more, the impact has been enduring. It haschanged how I think about and talk about the work Ido….”
— Sheila Heen in Negotiation Journal, January 2010
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787997298
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/3/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 725,701
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Mayer, a professor at the Werner Institute forNegotiation and Dispute Resolution, Creighton University, and apartner in CDR Associates, has been working in the conflict fieldsince the late 1970s as a mediator, facilitator, trainer,researcher, program administrator, and dispute system designer. Hehas worked on many complex environmental confl icts, organizationaland labor - management disputes, interpersonal conflicts, planningand development issues, public decision - making processes, andethnic disputes. He has an extensive background in family and childwelfare mediation as well. Bernie has worked with corporations;labor unions; Native American governments and associations;federal, state, and local agencies; public interest groups;professional associations; schools; child welfare programs; mentalhealth services; and universities.

He has consulted on conflict and conflict interventionthroughout the United States and Canada and has extensiveexperience working internationally as well. He has been recognizedas a leader in applying mediation in new arenas such as mentalhealth, child welfare, and disputes between public agencies andinvoluntary clients. He has also been recognized for his work inbridging the gap between theory and practice in confl ictintervention. Bernie received his Ph.D. degree from the Universityof Denver, his M.S.W. from Columbia University, and his B.A. fromOberlin College. He is the author of The Dynamics of ConflictResolution: A Practitioner ’ s Guide (Jossey- Bass, 2000)and Beyond Neutrality: Confronting the Crisis in Confl ictResolution (Jossey- Bass, 2004), which received the 2004 annualbook award from the CPR International Institute for Confl ictPrevention & Resolution, as well as many other writings aboutconflict. He lives in Kingsville, Ontario, and Boulder, Colorado,with his wife, Julie Macfarlane, and family.

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Table of Contents


1. A New Direction for the Conflict Field.

2. Conflict and Engagement.

3. Escaping the Avoidance Trap.

4. Working the Conflict Narrative.

5. Communicating in Enduring Conflict.

6. Using Power and Escalation.

7. Agreements in Ongoing Conflict.

8. Taking a Sustainable Approach to Enduring Conflict.

9. Conflict Specialists and Enduring Conflict.

Epilogue: The Dynamic Nature of Enduring Conflict.


About the Author.


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