Conflict and Conflict Management: How Culture Matters

Babajide O Ololajulo

Abstract


 

Introduction

... we ignore the local cultural narratives and meanings that inform the participants at the peril of misunderstanding the nature and extent of violence. (Jon Abbink, 2001:123)

Many conflicts are embedded in intolerance and prejudices that are culturally constructed. Some others have also remained intractable on account of lack of cultural awareness and intercultural communication. People, most times, do not only see things from their own cultural perspectives, but usually expect "cultural others" to use same lens to cognise and interpret the social environment. Divergent views that emanate from an alternative cultural perception, therefore, necessarily create misunderstanding, which may afterward result in tension, and sometimes, violent conflict. Since human perceptions, values, and organisation of meanings are product of socialisation experience, which usually is context specific, it reasonably follows that cultures around the world may develop different explanation for a singular phenomenon. In other words,

intercultural conflicts occur in the contexts of cultural differences and underscore the way different societies perceive social reality (Kimmel, 2006; Avruch, 2005; Avruch and Black, 1991).Quite often, when the relevance of culture to conflict and conflict management is acknowledged in peace and conflict studies, it is usually in relation to the impacts, which communication and cultural perception bear on negotiations and mediation processes (Fisher 1980; Weiss 1994; Bercovitch and Elgstrom 2001). Stephen Weiss, for instance, reckons negotiation as duly affected by the actors' basic conception of negotiation, their orientation toward time, their willingness to take risks, their protocol, and their decision-making style (Weiss 1994).

Full Text:

PDF

References


Abbink, J. (2001). "Violence and culture: Anthropological and evolutionary-psychological reflections on inter-group conflict in southern Ethiopia." In Bettina E. Schmidt and Ingo W. Schroder (eds.) Anthropology of Violence and Conflict. London: Routledge, pp. 123-142.

Avruch, K. (1991). "Culture and Conflict

Resolution." In Kevin Avruch, Peter W. Black and Joseph A. Scimecca, eds. Conflict Resolution: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Westport CT: Greenwood Press.

Avruch, K. (1998). Culture and conflict resolution, Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press.

Avruch, K. and P. Black (1991). "The Culture Question and Conflict Resolution." Peace and Change, 16(1): 22-45.

Beer, J. 2003. "High and Low Context Definitions," Communicating across Cultures, http:// www.culture-at-work.com/ highlow.html#Definitions (accessed 13 March 2013).

Bercovitch, J. and Ole Elgstrom (2001). "Culture and International Mediation: Exploring Theoretical and Empirical Linkages," International Negotiation, vol. 6,3-23.

Black, Peter W. and Kevin Avruch (1993). "Culture, Power and International Negotiations: Understanding Palau-US Status Negotiations." Millennium, 22(3): 379-400.

Burton, J.W. andD.J.D. Sandole (1987). Expanding the debate on conflict resolution: a response to a critique. Negotiation Journal, 3 (1): 97-99.

Burton, J.W. andF. Dukes (1990). Conflict:Practices in Management, Settlement and Resolution. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Desch, M.C. (1998). "Culture Clash: Assessing the Importance of Ideas in Security Studies." International Security, vol. 23, No. 1:141-170.

Faure, G.O. and Gunnar, S. (1993). "Culture and Negotiation: An introduction," Culture and Negotiation, Guy Olivier Faure andJ.Z. Rubin, (eds.), Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications

Fisher, G. (1980). International Negotiation: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.

Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and Organisations. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

Keesing, R.M. (1974). "Theories of Culture." Annual

Review of Anthropology. Vol. 3: 73-97.

Kimmel, P.R. (2006). "Culture and Conflict," The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice (2 edition), M. Deutsch, P.T. Coleman, and E.G. Marcus (eds.), San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, pp. 625-692.

Leeds, C.A. (1992). "Managing conflicts across cultures: challenges to practitioners," The International Journal of Peace Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2

Loomis, C.P. and 2.K. Loomis (1965). Modem Social Theories. Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc.

Melville, A. and D. Bretherton (1994). "The Appraisal of Conflict: Implications for Negotiations between Muslims and Non-Muslims." Paper presented to IPRA XV general Conference, Malta, 31 October - 4 November. 26 pp.

Robinson, J.W. (1972). "The Management of Conflict." Journal of the Community Development Society, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 100-105.

Stephen Weiss, Stephen (1994). "Negotiating with Romans, Part I," Sloane Management Review, Issue 35, vol. 2,51-61.

Tmg-Toomey, S. (1999). Communicating Across Cultures. New York: The Guilford Press.

Tucker, V. (1996). "Introduction: A Cultural Perspective on Development." The European Journal of Development Research, Vol. 8, No. 2: 1-21.

Vayrynen, Tarja (2001). Culture and International Conflict Resolution: A critical analysis of the work of John Burton, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.

Weiss, G. (1972). "A Scientific Concept of Culture." American Anthropologist 71:1377-1412.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.