The Little Book of Conflict Transformation: Clear Articulation Of The Guiding Principles By a Pioneer In The Field


Internationally recognized for his breakthrough thinking and action related to conflict on all levels, Lederach offers a hopeful and workable approach to conflict, from those that harm interpersonal relationships to those which overtake warring nations.

This clearly articulated statement offers a hopeful and workable approach to conflict— that eternally beleaguering human situation.

John Paul Lederach is internationally recognized for his ...

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Little Book of Conflict Transformation: Clear Articulation Of The Guiding Principles By A Pioneer In The Field

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Internationally recognized for his breakthrough thinking and action related to conflict on all levels, Lederach offers a hopeful and workable approach to conflict, from those that harm interpersonal relationships to those which overtake warring nations.

This clearly articulated statement offers a hopeful and workable approach to conflict— that eternally beleaguering human situation.

John Paul Lederach is internationally recognized for his breakthrough thinking and action related to conflict on all levels—person-to-person, factions within communities, warring nations. He explores why "conflict transformation" is more appropriate than "conflict resolution" or "management." But he refuses to be drawn into impractical idealism.

Conflict Transformation is an idea with a deep reach. Its practice, says Lederach, requires "both solutions and social change." It asks not simply "How do we end something not desired?", but "How do we end something destructive and build something desired?" How do we deal with the immediate crisis, as well as the long-term situation? What disciplines make such thinking and practices possible?

A title in The Little Books of Justice and Peacebuilding Series.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Conflict transformation, best characterized as an orientation or framework, is as far from a practical tool as possible, says Lederach (international peace building, Joan B. Kroch Inst.). Instead, it offers "perspective on conflict and change." Though Lederach considers conflict on personal, relational, structural, and cultural levels, his extremely wide focus is on societal conflicts; these are optimistically seen as opportunities to create "constructive change reduce violence, increase justice and respond to real-life problems in human relationships." This book has zero practicality on the individual level, but it would be useful for those studying/helping global-sized problems "in contexts where there are repeated and deep-rooted cycles of conflict episodes that have created destructive and violent patterns," as in the Middle East or Northern Ireland. Similarly, community activists, politicians, diplomats, or think tankers might use the book to construct or conceptualize a framework to gain intellectual control over large issues. Appropriate for collections with aheavy emphasis on business relations, international affairs, and peace studies.-Douglas C. Lord, formerly with Connecticut State Lib., Hartford Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561483907
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/28/2003
  • Series: Justice and Peacebuilding Ser.
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 74
  • Sales rank: 205,342
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John Paul Lederach is Professor of International Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, and a Distinguished Scholar with the Conflict Transformation Program at Eastern Mennonite University.

He has worked in the fields of conflict transformation and peacebuilding for more than 20 years. He works extensively in support of international conciliation efforts in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Central Asia, as well as in North America.

He has authored and co-edited 15 books and manuals in English and Spanish. Dr. Lederach received his Ph.D. in Sociology (with a concentration in the Social Conflict Program) from the University of Colorado. Lederach and his wife, Wendy, have two children.

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Read an Excerpt

1. Conflict Transformation?Conflict resolution . . . conflict management . . . but conflict transformation? I began using the term conflict transformation in the 1980s, after intensive experience in Central America caused me to re-examine the language of the field. When I arrived there my vocabulary was filled with the usual terminology of conflict resolution and management. I soon found, though, that my Latin colleagues had questions, even suspicions, about what was meant by such concepts. For them, resolution carried with it a danger of co-optation, an attempt to get rid of conflict when people were raising important and legitimate issues. It was not clear that resolution left room for advocacy. In their experience, quick solutions to deep social-political problems usually meant lots of good words but no real change. “Conflicts happen for a reason,” they would say. “Is this resolution idea just another way to cover up the changes that are really needed?” Their concerns were consistent with my own experience and perspective. My deepest sense of vocation, and the framework that informs much of this book, arises from a faith context that is grounded in an Anabaptist/Mennonite religious-ethical framework. This perspective understands peace as embedded in justice. It emphasizes the importance of building right relationships and social structures through a radical respect for human rights and life. It advocates nonviolence as a way of life and work. So the concerns of my Latin colleagues hit home. In my work of helping to find constructive responses to violent conflict in Central America and elsewhere, I became increasingly convinced that much of what I was doing was seeking constructive change. “Conflict transformation” seemed to convey this meaning better than conflict resolution or management.In the 1990s, when I helped found the Conflict Transformation Program at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), we had extensive debates about titles and terms. Resolution was better known and was widely accepted in mainstream academic and political circles. Transformation seemed too value-laden for some, too idealistic for others, and too airy-fairy and new-age for still others. In the end, we stuck with the transformation terminology. We believed it was accurate and scientifically sound and that it provided a clear vision.For me, conflict transformation is accurate because I am engaged in constructive change efforts that include, and go beyond, the resolution of specific problems. It is scientifically sound language because it is based on two verifiable realities: conflict is normal in human relationships, and conflict is a motor of change. Transformation provides a clear and important vision because it brings into focus the horizon toward which we journey—the building of healthy relationships and communities, locally and globally. This goal requires real change in our current ways of relating.But the question remains, what does transformation really mean?Over the past decade or so, the terminology of transformation has become increasingly common in both practitioner and academic circles. There are transformational approaches in mediation as well as in the broader discipline of peace and conflict studies. In fact, I am now part of two graduate academic programs that use this terminology, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame and the Conflict Transformation Program at EMU. In spite of this, conflict transformation is not as yet a school of thought. I do believe that conflict transformation is a comprehensive orientation or framework that ultimately may require a fundamental change in our way of thinking.What follows is my understanding of this framework based on my reading, my practice, and my teaching over the past 15 years. This Little Book is not a definitive statement; my understanding constantly evolves, pushed by experiences of practice and teaching.My understanding both parallels and converges from the work of other authors, although I am not able to explore all of those connections here. I do not want to imply that my particular view of transformation is superior to those who use the term differently or to those who prefer the term resolution. In this Little Book I mean to engage the creative tension between themes of resolution and transformation in order to sharpen understanding, not to discredit the work of those who prefer other terms. My purpose here is to add a voice to the ongoing discussion, to the search for greater understanding in human relationships. © Good Books, Intercourse, PA 17534
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Table of Contents

1. Conflict Transformation? 3 2. The Lenses of Conflict Transformation 73. Defining Conflict Transformation 144. Conflict and Change 235. Connecting Resolution and Transformation 286. Creating a Map of Conflict 347. Process-Structures as Platforms for Change 408. Developing Our Capacities 489. Applying the Framework 6110. Conclusions 6811. Endnotes 72
12. Selected Readings 72
13. Related Books by John Paul Lederach 73
14. About the Author 74
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    Great framework for thinking about conflict resolution

    Lederach does a fantastic job of making conflict resolution a more approachable topic. His frameworks for analyzing conflict make it clear that we must not only address the individual events which reflect problems in a society, but also the underlying issues which caused the conflict in the first place. His diagrams make the concepts easy to understand and they provide a visual way to comprehend the sometimes complex content. His frameworks are easy to apply to any conflict situation, and they illuminate the best approaches to conflict transformation, which Lederach distinguishes as a better approach than conflict resolution. Overall, a great book for understanding how to work toward peace.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    Great concept. Great guide. Great book. Great author. If you wan

    Great concept. Great guide. Great book. Great author. If you want to learn how to approach conflict transformation work, this is a perfect place to start! 

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