From Intractable Conflict Through Conflict Resolution To Reconciliation: Psychological Analysis

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Abstract

Intractable intergroup conflicts require the formation of a conflictive ethos that enables a society to adapt to the conflict situation, survive the stressful period, and struggle successfully with the adversary. The formal termination of such a conflict begins with the elimination of the perceived incompatibility between the opposing parties through negotiation by their representatives—that is, a conflict resolution process. But this is only part of the long-term reconciliation process, which requires the formation of peaceful relations based on mutual trust and acceptance, cooperation, and consideration of mutual needs. The psychological aspect of reconciliation requires a change in the conflictive ethos, especially with respect to societal beliefs about group goals, about the adversary group, about the ingroup, about intergroup relations, and about the nature of peace. In essence, psychological reconciliation requires the formation of an ethos of peace, but this is extremely difficult in cases of intractable conflict. Political psychologists can and should work to improve the state of knowledge about reconciliation,which until now has received much less attention than conflict resolution.

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