Unit 10 Conflict Mapping PDF

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Conflict Mapping PDF

Conflict creates confusion, unpredictability, and uncertainty. Intervention in this situation requires a clear understanding and analysis.

This understanding is necessary not only for the conflict resolution practitioner but also for the authorities, the stakeholders, and even students of peace and conflict studies.

All of them need to know – what is going on? Conflict is a complex process having multiple elements, more so if it has multiple parties and stakeholders. Conflict can thus be analyzed from various perspectives.

Some scholars analyze conflict from a general or macro perspective while others take a micro approach and yet some others combine the macro and the micro perspectives.

The basic or primary elements of a conflict can be helpful in creating a map that will enable one to negotiate their way through it.

Aims and Objectives After going through this Unit, you will be able to understand the purposes, usage, and limitations of a conflict map;l  Become aware of the basic elements of a conflict map.

l  Get familiar with the different ways in which conflict can be mapped, and Graphically map a conflict by using signs and conventions.

l A conflict map is a visual technique that presents a conflict graphically and shows the parties in relation to the conflict as well as to each other.

It can be used to analyze both micro and macro-level conflicts – international, national, social, organizational, and interpersonal conflicts.

Being a visual tool, it can be used for group processes as well as with people who are not formally educated.

It can be drawn on a sheet of page or a chart paper or a flip chart or even on the mud floor. The technique of conflict mapping was developed first by Paul Wehr in 1979.

It is possible to use the conflict map for various purposes in different contexts.

It can guide parties, third-party interveners, conflict resolution workshop participants as well and students to collect information about the conflict, reconstruct the chain of events, and help in understanding the situation better.

This understanding can form the basis on which strategies can be developed and actions planned.

Each party can draw a map with the aim of clarifying and understanding the conflict from their own perspective or it can be done jointly by two or more parties to understand each other’s perspective.

Parties to a conflict mostly have different perspectives and viewpoints about the conflict. In such a situation, when the parties draw their own conflict map, it can show differences in perception.

Also, it helps them to move a step back and make sense of the complex and confusing process of conflict.

A third party can draw a conflict map to use as a point of starting a discussion among the parties to which things can be added or deleted as per the inputs of the parties.

The conflict map thus is a flexible tool that can be modified depending on the conflict parties, the task at hand, and the intervention goal.

Conflict maps help in the overall analysis of a conflict. It clearly shows the relationship between the parties and also clarifies the distribution of power among the parties. It aids in seeing where allies or potential allies are.

Conflict mapping facilitates the identification of openings for intervention and entry points for action.

Mapping can also help in making an informed decision about whether the intervention should continue. It also helps in evaluating what has already been done in the conflict.

Conflict maps can thus be used either early in the process to just understand and analyze the conflict or later to identify possible entry points for intervention or to build strategies.

Conflicts change over time. Therefore, conflict analysis cannot be a one-time exercise; it must be an ongoing process, representative of the changing situation.

A conflict map is limited to the time period and is representative of the time in which it is made—it only gives a snapshot of the current situation and cannot possibly make all the aspects of the conflict visible.

The map will show things differently if it is drawn either before or later during the conflict process. Besides, it depicts the relationship between the parties but is unable to analyze the causes of conflict.

Moreover, the map is always drawn from some perspective, so it is critical to remember who is drawing the map and not just what elements and how they have been placed on the map.

Thus a map drawn by a student of peace and conflict studies may be very different from the one done by a party to the conflict, depending on the amount of information the students have at any given point in time.

Thus, Mapping on its own cannot provide all the answers; it only gives partial insight into the nature of a conflict. Conflicts have multiple elements.

Each conflict is unique having its own distinguishing features. However, some elements are common to all conflicts. Understanding these common or basic elements of a conflict is essential for constructing a conflict map.

Each conflict has a history—how the conflict started, what was its origin, how the conflict evolved, what were the major events in the course of its evolution—these need to be understood. Secondly, conflicts do not emerge in a vacuum.

They take place in a context or a setting. It is essential to know and be aware of the physical and organizational settings of a conflict.

Thirdly, conflict takes place between groups or individuals, i.e. the parties.

The primary or main parties are those who are directly opposed to one another, are directly involved in the conflict, and are indulging in conflict-aggravating behavior.

On the other hand, there might be groups and individuals who have a stake in the conflict—whose lives would be impacted by the outcome of the conflict but who have no direct stake in its outcome referred to as secondary parties.

Besides, there can be third parties as well. These are conciliators, mediators, or conflict resolution professionals who intervene in the conflict with the aim of facilitating resolution.

Fourthly, conflicts take place in a relationship.

The main and secondary parties and the stakeholders in a conflict can have different kinds of relationships between them – alliances, close contacts, broken relationships, confrontation, intermittent links, etc.

The relationship between the parties must be represented in a conflict map.

Fifthly, a conflict cannot take place without issues or factors and points of disagreement. It is thus essential to answer the question as to why a particular conflict exists.

Although there may be several issues in a given conflict, the key ones need to be pointed out. Contrasting values can be one such issue.

It must however be noted that these values can be different for different parties either in reality or it might just be a belief or a perception.

Next, each conflict arises because of some root causes and as the conflict progresses, depending on what action is taken, it leads to certain consequences.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the causes and the consequences.

So in a given conflict, there are likely to be some issues that can be seen as both the causes and the effects of the conflict e.g. scarcity of food can be a cause of conflict between two groups but that scarcity may itself be a consequence of normal agricultural activities getting disrupted by the ongoing violence.

Additionally, goals are an important aspect of the conflict. A goal is an objective of a conflict, which is acknowledged as such by the parties.

This may be a position that the parties take publicly to make others see and hear. Besides, there are interests involved in conflicts as well.

Interests are something we really want; these are the motivating factors for the parties. However, the satisfaction of needs is at the core of the resolution of conflicts.

Interests and positions can be negotiated but needs are non-negotiable, something we must have e.g. water.

In the process of analyzing a conflict, it is important to distinguish between what the parties ‘say’ they want (positions or goals), what they ‘really’ want (interests), and what they ‘must’ have (needs). Also, different parties may have different goals and interests.

Further, each conflict has its own dynamics. Things constantly change and move in a conflict and thus conflict is a dynamic process.

It might seem that there is a deadlock between the parties but the aspects of the context of the conflict keep changing.

Mapping too is a dynamic process as it reflects a particular point in a changing context and points towards action.

Language English
No. of Pages13
PDF Size0.4 MB

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