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Culture in Conflict Resolution


Culturein Conflict Resolution

Culturein Conflict Resolution

Conflictshave been a common occurrence in the contemporary human society. Asmuch as there is a marked reduction in the prevalence of conflictsbetween nations, there has been an equal increase in civil wars oreven disagreements between individuals. In most cases, thepossibility of violence is averted through intense negotiations andmediation. Mediation comes as extremely effective in conflictresolution especially considering that the disputants get anopportunity to voice their concerns and even come up with thesolutions themselves. In most cases, the solution offers a win-winsituation for all the disputants although they have to compromise orsacrifice some of their demands. While this is the case, there hasbeen little or no attention given to the role that personalidiosyncrasies play in the resolution of conflicts among differentparties. Needless to say, personal idiosyncrasies are shaped byindividual culture, in which case culture influences the values thatan individual holds dear (Avruch, 1998). This, essentially,underlines the role played by individual culture in conflictresolution.

Nevertheless,the nexus of culture in conflict resolution may be seen in its varieddefinitions. Culture may be conceived as incorporating variedbeliefs, values and norms pertaining to the socially appropriatetechniques for processing disputes and conflicts, including theirresolution or management (Avruch, 2003). This definition underlinesthe broad manner in which culture offers the context for disputing orconflicting. It is well noted that culture imbues different values inindividuals. People born and brought up in different societies tendto inculcate the norms and beliefs of that society (Avruch, 2003). Itis well noted that the disagreements and disputes between individualsare almost always based on the variations of beliefs, norms andvalues of the disputants. In essence, it is always imperative thatthese norms, values and beliefs are well understood so as tounderstand the concerns and fears of the individuals.

Inaddition, culture may be seen as affecting considerable perceptualorientations pertaining to time, uncertainty, risk, authority, powerand hierarchy (Avruch, 2003). On the same note, it comprises ofvaried discursive frames and cognitive representations includingimages, scripts, maps and schemas that are bound in a meta-linguisticforms as metaphors and symbols. These two definitions provideinformation pertaining to the role that culture plays in effectivecommunication between the disputants, as well as the likely thirdparties (Avruch, 2003). This explains why a large number ofculturally-sensitive approaches to the resolution of conflicts arelikely to invoke ideas pertaining to the competence of an individualin communication, as well as direct anyone’s attention to thevaried cultural styles and the para-lingusitic features pertaining tointercultural disputes or encounters.

However,it is imperative that even as individuals adopt culture in conflictresolution that they do not become excessively optimistic or makesuch assumptions pertaining to classical functionalism wheresolutions used or incorporated in cultures are always the best onesor appropriate (Avruch, 1998). In fact, cultural solutions, on thecontrary, can be and have on numerous occasions been severely optimalat the level of local practice and knowledge (Avruch, 1998). A largeproportion of conflict resolution is founded on the basic belief thatresorting to physical violence as a way of resolving conflictsessentially signifies failure of problem solving. On the same note,it is imperative that culture is analyzed, comprehended, rethought,as well as reimagined and re-engineered especially considering thatsome cultures sanction violence in some circumstances and at somepoint (Avruch, 1998).


Avruch,K (2003). Type I and Type II Errors in Culturally Sensitive ConflictResolution Practice. ConflictResolution Quarterly,vol. 20, no. 3, Wiley Periodicals, Inc

Avruch,K. (1998).&nbspCulture&amp conflict resolution.Washington, D.C: United States Inst. of Peace Press.