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Culture of Conflict: Evolvement, Institutionalization and Consequences. Daniel Bar-Tal School of Education Tel Aviv University. A conflict begins in human mind and therefore also its ending must be initiated in the human mind. Assumption
School of Education
Tel Aviv University
A conflict begins in human mind and therefore also its ending must be initiated in the human mind.
Conflicts are over real issues like money, love, territories, natural resources, self-determination, statehood, religious dogmas, and/or basic values and it is these real issues that have to be addressed in conflict resolution. But, the fact that they are accompanied by socio-psychological dynamics influences their nature and requires taking them greatly into the consideration for their understanding, prevention and resolution.
Psychological Challenges of a Society Involved in Intractable Conflict
Societies involved in intractable conflict attempt to evolve a functional socio-psychological infrastructure in order to meet the psychological challenges of the conflict.
This proposition is based on conceptual and empirical literature which suggests that successful adaptation and coping with threatening and stressful conditions requires the construction of a meaningful world view(e.g., Antonovsky, 1987; Frankl, 1963; Greenberg, Solomon, & Pyszczynski, 1997; Horowitz, 1986; Janoff-Bulman, 1992; Kobasa, 1985; Moos & Schaefer, 1986; Taylor, 1983).
Psychological Challenges of Intractable Conflict
Emotions shared by society’s members and expressed in their culture
Collective Emotional Orientations
Collective Fear Orientation is an aversive emotion that arises in situations of threat and danger to the society and its members and enables adaptive response.
Collective Hatred is a hostile feeling directed toward another group that consists of malice, repugnance, willingness to harm and even annihilate the object of hatred.
Collective Anger Orientation appears when a group appraises that what another group has done is an unjustified and unfair violation of social norms.
The evolved socio-psychological repertoire serves as a prism through which society members process information and experiences.
This is a selective, biased an distorting processing.
Societies that live under prolonged experiences of intractable conflict with the dominant socio-psychological infrastructure evolve a Culture of Conflict.
A culture of conflict evolves when societies saliently integrate into their culture tangible and intangible symbols which are created to communicate a particular meaning about the prolonged and continuous experiences of living in the context of conflict (Geertz, 1993, Keesing, 1974; Ross, 1993).
Symbols of conflict become hegemonic elements in the culture of societies involved in intractable conflict: They provide a dominant meaning about the present reality, about the past, and about future goals, and serve as guides for practice.
In this case, a society may be characterized as being dominated by culture of conflict.
Violent confrontations with the rival (events)
The fallen society members
Shared beliefs of society members
Speeches of leaders
School books and curricular materials
Protocols of public and governmental meetings
Documents and other written material
Paintings and sculptures
Statues and memorial sites
A conflict begins in the human mind and therefore its ending alsohas to be initiated in the human mind.
Striving towards peace should not be a dream or a wish, but a continuous struggle to mobilize peace supporters which leads to the signing of a peace agreement and eventually to the development of a culture of peace.
We will not let up.
We will not give in.
Peace will triumph over all our enemies, because the alternative is grim for us all.
And we will prevail.
We will prevail because we regard the building of peace as a great blessing for us, and for our children after us.”
Assassinated Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin, upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo