The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts

The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts

by Peter Coleman

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One in every twenty difficult conflicts ends up grinding to a halt. That's fully 5 percent of not just the diplomatic and political clashes we read about in the newspaper, but disputations and arguments from our everyday lives as well. Once we get pulled into these self-perpetuating conflicts it is nearly impossible to escape. The 5 percent rule us.

So what can we do when we find ourselves ensnared? According to Dr. Peter T. Coleman, the solution is in seeing our conflict anew. Applying lessons from complexity theory to examples from both American domestic politics and international diplomacy--from abortion debates to the enmity between Israelis and Palestinians--Coleman provides innovative new strategies for dealing with intractable disputes. A timely, paradigm-shifting look at conflict, The Five Percent is an invaluable guide to preventing even the most fractious negotiations from foundering.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781586489229
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Dr. Peter T. Coleman is associate professor of psychology and education at Columbia University, director of the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, and on faculty of The Earth Institute at Columbia. In 2003, he received the Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association, Division 48: Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence. He lives in New York.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part 1 The Problem: Impossible Conflicts

1 Conflict Resolution Methods That Work-and Why They Do Not Help with the 5 Percent 15

2 The 5 Percent Problem 26

Part 2 The Approach: The Attraction of Impossible Conflicts

3 The Big Idea: Complexity, Coherence, and Conflict 49

4 The Model: Intractable Attractors 77

Part 3 The Method: Resolving Impossible Conflicts

5 Getting Unattracted to Conflict: Three Practices 111

Practice I Complicate to Simplify 116

Practice II Build Up and Tear Down 146

Practice III Change to Stabilize 171

Part 4 The 5 Percent Solution: Putting It All Together

6 Realizing the Impossible in Mozambique and Beyond 187

Conclusion 218

Appendix A The Attractor Software 225

Appendix B Analytical Contents 231

Columbia University's International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) 243

Notes 247

Index 261

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