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Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking

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Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking

By: Selina Appel
PSY/400
Leah Reagan
University of Phoenix
November 07, 2011

Conflict is one part of the human experience that never seems to go away completely as time has gone on. There is always some sort of conflict happening every day. From small family squabbles of not taking out the trash or leaving dirty dishes in the sink to large wars between countries, conflict is something that seems to be here to stay. No matter how sophisticated, evolved or enlightened we think society is, conflict still remains a part of modern life. This makes conflict resolution and peacemaking extremely important skills to have in place. Without having a way to put an end to conflict in a manner that helps to soothe all parties involved, the world would be in complete and utter chaos because it can be easy to not agree on certain things. This is especially true for hot button issues, such as human rights, abortion, gun control, equality between the genders, land rights and more. According to Myers (2010), “Recall that conflict is a perceived incompatibility of actions or goals. Many conflicts contain but a small core of truly incompatible goals; the bigger problem is the misperceptions of the other’s motives and goals” (p. 493). The main thing that needs to happen when dealing with conflict resolution and peacemaking is helping each side being able to see how a compromise can be put into place where each individual gains insight and is able to see what needs to be done for both side to get what they are seeking. A key element in conflict resolution and peacemaking is being able to communicate. Having great communication skills is important for someone to have when getting involved with a conflict. Communication is going to be the key in getting both sides of the conflict to come together to try to resolve the issue that is at the root of what they are fighting over. An open mind is also important to have when dealing with type of issue. Many times we let our own personal feelings come into play, but in order to be effective with conflict resolution and peacemaking that has to be taken out of the equation to get a fair resolution. The article, “Peacekeepers Turned Peacemakers: Police as Mediators” by Meyer, Paul and Grant discusses how police officers are in a position where they are able to provide conflict resolution as part of their job, but in some cases, they do not see it that way. They may feel that they are there only in the capacity to arrest the wrongdoer, that they do not have the authority to mettle in people’s lives unless a crime has been committed or that they are not social workers. The truth is that they are in a position where they can do well during their day if they feel that they are able to.
The article mentions that they can feel the constraints of having a tight budget and personnel cuts which has an impact on in the way that they approach a situation where they could act in a role providing conflict resolution. “Hostage situations, for example, show the skill police mediators use in defusing potentially volatile situations, as do disturbances in which the police are outnumbered or where there is a heavy media presence” (Meyer et al., 2009, p. 334). A dangerous situation that many police officers face is domestic violence. Communication, in this event, can be crucial because they are walking into a situation where they are unfamiliar with the location and the individuals involved. Families and people with close ties can be more emotional and harder to deal with in this type of situation. In conclusion, it takes a special type of person to be able to put their own personal feelings about an issue aside and be able to help with conflict resolution and peacemaking. Conflict is a part of life and will continue to be so. Everyone cannot be happy all of the time, and things will come between people, groups and nations that cause friction and conflict. Knowing that the conflict can come to resolution is important. Being able to make peace over a friend stealing a boyfriend or country taking land may not be easy, but with having communication skills, empathy and an open mind it is possible to be done.

References:
Meyer, J. F., Paul, R. C., & Grant, D. R. (2009). Peacekeepers turned peacemakers: police as mediators. Contemporary Justice Review, 12(3), 331-344. doi:10.1080/10282580903105897
Myers, D. G. (2010). Social psychology (10th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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