Publication typeJournal article
JournalConflict Resolution Quarterly
Publication Begin page1
Publication End page4
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AbstractBurgess et al. (BBK) propose to address hyper-polarized, society-wide conflicts through what they call a “massively parallel” approach “seeking to cultivate large numbers of independent but mutually reinforcing projects each addressing particular aspects of hyper-polarization in specific contexts.” The authors propose that these goals be pursued in two mutually reinforcing activity streams. The first involves traditional multiparty conflict resolution processes (e.g., community dialogues and multiparty negotiations) conducted under the guidance of third-party interveners. The second addresses the causes of hyperpolarized conflicts, for example, by instituting changes to electoral systems to try to minimize opportunities for hyperpolarization to occur. This commentary focuses on particular aspects of the second stream, that is, addressing what BBK call “the real energy behind hyperpolarized politics.” Chief among these are the emotional triggers that typically fuel conflicts such as anger, fear, and desperation. Initiatives such as showing people how a better understanding of conflict dynamics can help them defend their legitimate interests, while also pointing out the dangers of allowing conflict to escalate and cause polarization.
Knowledge Domain/IndustryPeople Management & Leadership