Understanding community dispute resolution


  • Frank Dukes

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    • Frank Dukes is completing a doctorate in conflict analysis and resolution at George Mason University. He is coeditor of Conflict: Readings in Management and Resolution and coauthor of Conflict: Practices in Management, Settlement, and Resolution (St. Martin's Press, 1990).


This article suggests the need for a new understanding of community dispute resolution programs. Research into these programs has two problems: the conceptual framework that frames research questions focuses solely on dispute processing, thus ignoring other important aspects of community dispute resolution; and the research results do not reach those involved in community dispute resolution, from volunteers to policymakers, in ways that can make a difference to them. By developing new ways of conceptualizing the goals, purposes, and results of community dispute resolution, as well as the problems it is intended to address, researchers can alter the context of policy discourse in this field.