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Compiled by

S.Rengasamy
S.Rengasamy –Conflict in Community Setting Part I

Contents
Conflict in Community Settings .............................................................................................................................. 3
What is community conflict? .................................................................................................................................. 4
Box: What is community? ...................................................................................................................................... 4
Box: Community organizers & Conflict .................................................................................................................. 4
What is Conflict ..................................................................................................................................................... 5
Definitions ............................................................................................................................................................. 5
1 ............................................................................................................................................................................ 5
Box: Stages & Signs of Conflict ............................................................................................................................. 5
2 ............................................................................................................................................................................ 5
3 ............................................................................................................................................................................ 5
4 ............................................................................................................................................................................ 6
5 ............................................................................................................................................................................ 6
6 ............................................................................................................................................................................ 6
7 ............................................................................................................................................................................ 6
8 ............................................................................................................................................................................ 6
Box: Types of Conflict ........................................................................................................................................... 6
Table: Five Types of Conflict ................................................................................................................................. 7
Box: Conflict Staircase ........................................................................................................................................... 7
A.Types of Conflict ................................................................................................................................................ 8
B. Types of Conflict ............................................................................................................................................... 8
Box: What do we mean by conflict ......................................................................................................................... 8
C. Types of Conflict ............................................................................................................................................... 8
Box: Conflict Stages & Types of community Disputes .......................................................................................... 10
Types of Community Disputes.............................................................................................................................. 10
Dia: Levels of conflict .......................................................................................................................................... 11
Box: Conflict is ever-changing: Stages of conflict ................................................................................................. 12
D.Types of conflict ............................................................................................................................................... 13
Box: Consequences of conflict .............................................................................................................................. 13
E. Types of conflict: ............................................................................................................................................. 13
Box: Understanding Conflict as a Strategy in Social Change ................................................................................. 14
Different kinds of conflict. .................................................................................................................................... 14
Understanding Conflict as a Strategy in Social Change ......................................................................................... 14
Competition & Conflict ........................................................................................................................................ 15
Box: Casual Pathway of Conflict over Natural Resources -& Fresh water Conflicts ............................................... 16
Consequences of conflict ...................................................................................................................................... 17
Positive and Negative Conflict .............................................................................................................................. 17
Types of conflicts arising in Natural Resource Management .................................................................................. 18
Box: How is conflict resolution different than the legal approach? ......................................................................... 18
Common development pressures fuelling conflict ................................................................................................. 19
Community situations where conflict resolution may be useful .............................................................................. 19
Box: Model Conflict Analysis Mapping ................................................................................................................ 19
Box: Types of conflict .......................................................................................................................................... 20
Box: Conflict mapping & Community Conflict ..................................................................................................... 21
Conflict - Careers and education ........................................................................................................................... 21
Box Examples of Types of conflicts arising in Natural Resource Management....................................................... 22
What are community-based conflicts? ................................................................................................................... 23
References ........................................................................................................................................................... 25

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S.Rengasamy –Conflict in Community Setting Part I

Conflict in community Settings

Conflict in Community Settings

"Not all conflict is bad and not all cooperation is good"


Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.
"Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to
conflict - alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence."

This compilation is not talking about


• Conflicts caused by criminals. These are for the police to deal with.
• Conflicts that occur within families or between individuals - that are unrelated to
our work as community organizers/ development workers/ or as livelihood
promoters. These are for social services to deal with.
• Conflict caused by individuals who need medical help. These are for health care
professionals to deal with
This compilation won‘t provide instant answers to complex questions / solutions
for violent conflict /or Instant project security
• This knowledge won‘t replace the ground work the community organizers are
expected to do. This may help in understanding the communities and the context
and building relationships and trust.
This material may help how to proceed our work in a careful manner and
designing strategies in an appropriate manner

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S.Rengasamy –Conflict in Community Setting Part I

What is community conflict?


Conflict situations appear with frequency in daily, public, and private life. These conflicts may
be on a small or large scale; they may occur within and among groups, communities, or nations;
and, they may be triggered by ethnic, racial,
What is community?
religious, or economic differences, or arise The typical image of a community in a Community
from differences in values, beliefs, and Based Development (CBD) program is a village com-
attitudes regarding issues. Local communities posed of people from similar backgrounds who have
are constantly faced with issues such as lived together a long time. In a conflict-affected
setting, the reality may be very different. A
sharing of water, dumping of waste, temple ‗community‘ in a conflict-affected area may include
rights, and zoning that have the potential of members of different warring groups, internally
leading to community conflict. Workers in displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, ex-combatants,
community organizations are (or should be) and victims of violence along with and among the
original inhabitants. In countries affected by prolonged
aware of issues and value differences that violence, it may be primarily composed of women or
may cause conflict within or among groups. children and old people. In some programs,
Unmanaged conflict is a threat to the survival communities may be groups of individuals united by
similar interests, such as businessmen, farmers or
of the group and, at the least, tends to make health workers. A CBD community may be an urban
the group less effective. slum or a rural village. For the purposes of
Box: What is community? understanding conflict, a community is a group of
What causes conflict to emerge in people sharing some common interests and needs and
who have to work together to solve problems.
communities and community groups? How
can one minimize, deal with, "manage", or
resolve community and group conflict? How is conflict used by groups as a strategy to bring
about desired changes?
Box: Community organizers & Conflict

Community organizers & Conflict


Community organizers should be prepared to confront issues and deal with them, and they should not
be not intimidated by conflict and the emotions that accompany it. Community Organizers should not
feel that conflicts are to be avoided and that if they occur, they are a sign of failure; that reasonable
people can always find a middle ground, a compromise that avoids unpleasantness. But there are
things that need to be challenged. There may be low level casteism and sexism, officials who appear
to be acting unreasonably, organizations that find it difficult to adapt to new and changing realities.
Challenging these, in positive ways, is part of working towards change.

Beware of Iceberg Conflicts occur because of historical, cultural and economic


changes that can make people anxious. If people feel
excluded from the decisions being made about their
communities, they will often react angrily. If they are
repeatedly excluded, the anger will grow and may escalate
into a major conflict.

Many community organizations work with people who feel


excluded, who feel that they have no say in what is going
on. If you and your organizations are introducing change, it
will, by definition, disturb “the way things are done around
here”. Changes will force people to think and act
differently, and often affect the way resources are allocated
to different uses. None of this is likely to happen without

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S.Rengasamy –Conflict in Community Setting Part I

conflict. The feelings and emotions, the hopes and aspirations, the anger and the frustration that
the changes bring up will often be carried into your organization and affect your work. It can
show up in disagreements between organizations and in disagreements within organizations. This
is not anyone’s fault: it is what happens in any highly charged change situation. Our task is to
learn from it… not to pretend it isn’t there, or just hope that it will go away

What is Conflict
The potential for conflict exists whenever and wherever people have contact. As people are
organized into groups to seek a common goal, the probability of conflict greatly increases. Since
only the most serious conflicts make headlines, conflict has a negative connotation for many
people. All conflicts are not the same. We face conflicts on all levels. We have disagreements
with family, friends, and co-workers. "Conflicts are rarely resolved easily. Most conflicts are
managed as individuals work out differences...."

Individuals may dislike certain people with whom they come into frequent contact, but may
tolerate their behavior on a day-to-day basis until a situation arises where strong feelings are at
issue. Such situations almost inevitably turn up, sooner or later, within any long term community
project or program. Conflict can occur within groups (intra-group conflict) or among groups
(inter-group conflict).
'CONFLICT ENTREPRENEURS', stand to
gain a great deal of power and
Definitions wealth from instability and conflict.
1

Conflict is defined in many ways. The Latin word


conflictus, a striking together with force implies disagreement, discord, and friction among
members of a group; interaction where words, emotions, and actions strike together to produce
disruptive effects
Box: Stages & Signs of Conflict

Signs of Conflict The word ‘conflict’ carries


Gossip negative connotations. It is often
Avoidance thought of as the opposite of co-
Resistance operation and peace, and is most
Exclusion commonly associated with
Absenteeism violence, the threat of violence or
Mood change disruptive (nonviolent) disputes.
Silences, or a drop in the amount of This view of conflict as negative is
communication not always helpful. In non-violent
Inappropriate communication settings it can often be seen as a
Negative body language force for positive social change,
Continual complaining or arguments its presence being a visible
Change in work and decision-making demonstration of society
styles adapting to a new political,
Change in social patterns, and economic or physical
Recurring problems. environment.

Conflict. Conflict is usually defined as a social situation in which incompatible goals and
activities occur between two or more parties (individuals or groups) who hold antagonistic
feelings towards each other and attempt to control each other.
3

Conflict exists whenever incompatible activities occur.

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S.Rengasamy –Conflict in Community Setting Part I

Conflict occurs when an individual is motivated to make two or more mutually incompatible
responses.
5

Conflict is a tension between two or more entities (individuals, groups or larger organizations),
which arise from incompatibility of actual or larger responses.
6

Conflict is the energy that builds up when individuals or groups of people pursue incompatible
goals in their drive to meet their needs and interests
7

Conflict is a perceived divergence of interests or the belief that the current aspirations of the
parties cannot be simultaneously met
8

Conflict is defined in many ways. The Latin word conflictus, a striking together with force
implies disagreement, discord, and friction among members of a group; interaction where words,
emotions, and actions strike together to produce disruptive effects. Conflict is an unavoidable
outgrowth of group life, for by entering into relations with others we must negotiate and
renegotiate our undertakings and our outcomes
Box: Types of Conflict

• Clarify perceptions
• Control emotions through procedures
• Block negative behavior by changing structure
• Encourage problem solving attitudes

• Read agreements on what data are important


• Agree on process to collect data
• Allow parties to agree or disagree • Develop common criteria to access data
• Search for super-ordinate goal • Jointly collect, jointly assess data

• Clearly define roles


• Establish fair decision making process
• Change time constraints • Focus on common interests
• Address 3 types of interests differently

Resource Scarcity and Ingenuity


To maintain ―constant-satisfaction requirement‖, humans will need to run resource systems every more efficiently
requiring ―ever greater amounts of (technical and social) ingenuity.‖ ―Some societies are locked into a race between
a rising requirement for ingenuity and their capacity to supply it‖ and that create conflicts

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S.Rengasamy –Conflict in Community Setting Part I

Table: Five Types of Conflict


Five types of conflicts
Types Causes Explanation
Relationship Miscommunication Relationship conflicts are breaks in our ability to relate to
Conflict Strong Emotions one another. They are usually caused by
Stereotyping miscommunication, strong emotions, preconceived opinions
Repetitive negative Behavior (stereotyping), or repetitive negative behavior.
Data Conflicts Lack of Information Data conflicts are caused by a lack of information (e.g. not
Misinformation knowing the market value of a small business),
Differing views on data relevance misinformation (e.g. belief in a false rumor about a job
Different interpretations of data applicant), or different ways of looking at the same
information (e.g. whether crime statistics indicate a safer
or more dangerous neighborhood).
Interest Perceived or actual competition over In values conflicts, different ideologies, worldviews, and
Conflicts interests lifestyles are at the heart of the conflict. Disputes over
Procedural interests universal healthcare, withdrawal from Iraq, same-sex
Psychological interests marriage, and increasing taxes on tobacco likely stem from
a difference in values.
Structural Unequal authority Interest conflicts are typically about resources — for
Conflict Unequal control of resources example, three cities in competition for an urban
Time constraints revitalization grant, or roommates who want to watch
different TV shows.
Value Conflict Different ways of life, ideology, Structural conflicts are mostly caused by actual or
world view etc perceived power inequality. Disputes between corporations
Different criteria for evaluating ideas and labor unions are usually structural. A dispute between
a manager and the CEO's administrative assistant might
also be structural.

Box: Conflict Staircase

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The more our lives overlap with others, the more likely it is that there will at times be conflicts.
So one can identify different types of conflicts.

A.Types of Conflict
There are different ways to classify the conflict based on the need to intervene. Some are
A. Three basic types of conflict: task conflict, interpersonal conflict, and procedural conflict.

B. Types of Conflict Positive Conflict Can . . .


Help define issues
Man vs. Man Introduce new perspectives
Man vs. Man occurs when a character (man or Make groups consider a wide range of options
woman!) has an argument, disagreement, or Energize creative thinking
other kind of “argument” with another Keep groups alert to member‘s interests
character.
Man vs. Society
The conflict between Man and Society occurs when a character disagrees with societal values,
laws, or beliefs.
Man vs. Nature
A conflict of Man vs. Nature occurs when a character has a problem with outside forces:
weather, animals, land, etc.
Man vs. Self
Man vs. self occurs when a character develops an internal struggle between his thoughts and
ideas. This can be a result of the other conflicts mentioned .
Box: What do we mean by conflict

C. Types of Conflict What do we mean by conflict?


Interpersonal Conflict, Intrapersonal Conflict is tension or disagreement between people
or institutions. It can manifest itself in a number of
Conflict and Intergroup Conflict.
ways:
Interpersonal conflict Through violent attacks on people or property;
Pseudo-Conflict:- This type of conflict • Through peaceful demonstration and blockades;
happens when people have misunderstandings • Through local antagonisms resulting in the inability
of groups to work together productively;
with each • Through kidnappings of company staff;
other. Sometimes two people perceive their • Through inter-communal tensions with state
goals as incompatible, but in fact the goals are security forces or armed militia; or
compatible. That is known as a pseudo conflict. • Through low productivity.
Conflict can be social or political, or both. It might
Pseudo conflict can be easily solved by be:
clarification of information or meaning. pre-existing (e.g. between groups, tribes or
Simple Conflict:- This type of conflict occurs outright civil war);
when people disagree about certain issues. This • latent (e.g. festering tensions which need a small
catalyst to erupt such as in a post-conflict
can occur when each of two individuals knows environment where there are large groups of
what each other want, but neither can achieve unemployed youth with nothing to do, or in an area
their own goals without preventing the other where there is already competition over natural
resources); or
from achieving theirs.
• caused directly by a project (e.g. anger over
Ego Conflict:-This type of conflict is caused construction impacts, unmet expectations or
when personalities within a group clash. It is perceived inequality over a community development
essentially a struggle between two people that program, loss of livelihoods or access to land and
resources).
is characterized by name calling and blaming.
Ego conflict puts the other on the defensive and tends to ignore the original issue.
Intrapersonal conflict- Conflict within the individual.

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Approach conflict: an individual must choose among alternatives, each of which is expected to
have a positive outcome.
Avoidance conflict: an individual must choose among alternatives, each of which is expected to
have a negative outcome.
Avoidance conflict: an individual must decide whether to do something that has both positive
and negative outcomes.
Links between livelihoods
and conflict
Conflict can result from a wide range
of factors, including competition for
scarce resources, ethnic or religious
tensions, competition over political
power, dissatisfaction or desperation
on the part of marginalized groups, or
deliberate attempts by the state to
subjugate particular groups or extract
resources from areas where there are
competing claims.

Intergroup conflict- An overt expression of tensions between goals or concerns of one group
or those of another group. There are opposing interests, group boundaries or group differences
involved. The conflict is directly or indirectly related to culture group identities. Sources of this
type conflict includes: Competing Goals; Competition of Resources; Cultural Differences; Power
Discrepancies; Assimilation vs. Preservation of micro cultural identity.

Vulnerability/context Environmental/political/economic/climatic/military shocks and trends

Affects
Affects Affects Affects
Transforming structures
& processes
Livelihood infrastructure Livelihood
assets of a strategies
state/government institution
particular • agriculture
household/ kinship networks
group/ markets Influencing • labour
Affects engagement
community/ civic institutions • trade
with
population traditional authority • migration
private sector • smuggling
• predation and
Relative power / ethnic institutions
wealth / religious institutions asset- stripping
Vulnerability / laws • external aid
poverty of
Affects policies
particular determining/ achieving
and access to culture
household/ group
/ community / ethnic & religious identity
population conflict and violence Livelihood outcomes
war economy • income
F= financial assets displacement • food security
H= human assets Determines environmental degradation • health and education
and impacts
N= natural assets asset transfer • economic vulnerability
of/significance of
P= physical assets aid inputs • political vulnerability
S= social assets foreign investment • vulnerability to violence
Pol= political assets
militarization • use of natural resources
foreign intervention
trading

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Box: Conflict Stages & Types of community Disputes

Types of Community
Disputes
Small Claims - property
damage, accidents, vandalism,
small debts, harassment, etc.
Neighbor problems - such as
noise, pet, neighbor relations,
parking, etc.
Domestic problems - involving
family members, friends, or
roommates.
Juvenile disputes - conflicts
between youth, as well as
between youth and adults,
schools, merchants, or the law.
Consumer/merchant -
product or service satisfaction.
Landlord/tenant - security
deposits, repairs, damages, etc.
Worksite - employer/employee,
among workers.
Property division - personal or
business relationships disputes.

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Intragroup Conflict: This type of conflict is conflict between the group members. There are
two types of conflict:
Relationship conflict-Relationship conflict exists when there are interpersonal incompatibilities
among group members, which typically includes tension, animosity, and annoyance among
members within a group.
Task conflict-Exists when there are disagreements among group members about the content of
the tasks being performed, including differences in viewpoints, ideas, and opinions.
Dia: Levels of conflict

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Box: Conflict is ever-changing: Stages of conflict

Conflict is ever-changing: Stages of conflict


Conflicts are best thought of as dynamic (ever-changing), interactive social processes. No two conflicts
are the same. However, conflict analysis makes it possible to examine the structure and dynamics of
conflicts in a systematic way. From this, it becomes clear that conflicts often share similar patterns
and stages of development. Conflicts can generally be thought of a cycle from emergence to
resolution. However, they do not always progress in a strictly linear fashion, from stage A, to B, to C,
and so on. Instead, conflicts sometimes unfold in non-linear ways, moving backwards and forwards
between different stages, skipping a stage altogether, or stopping at one stage for a long time before
suddenly moving on.
When conflict is not open but is a potential threat, it is described as being latent; there may be
smoke, but there is no visible fire. Latent conflict refers to social tensions, differences and
disagreements that are hidden or undeveloped. This is the stage at which incompatible goals may
exist, but parties may either not be acutely conscious of them or not be willing to reveal themselves or
their interests in the conflict. They may allow conflict to remain latent because of fear, distrust, peer
pressure or financial reasons. In such situations, conflicts may show up through what Scott calls "the
ordinary weapons of relatively powerless groups: foot dragging, dissimulation, desertion, false
compliance, pilfering, feigned ignorance, slander, arson, sabotage, and so on". In such situations
tensions build up.
Conflict can emerge gradually and steadily, or develop rapidly in response to a few significant events.
As differences increase and intensify, conflict becomes manifest, expanding into a full-blown public
issue that cannot be avoided. In the manifest stage, opponents' differences become more prominent
and more central to group dynamics. As incompatibilities become clearer, they become the defining
issues: debate revolves more and more around differences. Opponents begin to define themselves
and their groups on the basis of such cleavages, in terms of "us versus them". These differences
might then be used to mobilize sections of the population on behalf of a "cause". Manifest conflicts
can escalate and become violent. When a conflict reaches this stage, violence often produces counter-
violence, leading to further escalation.
Ideally, conflicts should be managed at the latent stage, before they emerge or escalate. When a
conflict reaches the manifest stage, it may either become blocked in a stalemate or impasse in which
the conflict parties refuse to modify their positions, or fall out of control through tensions and violent
actions.

CONFLICT STAGES

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D.Types of conflict
economic conflict, power conflict, value conflict –
Conflict due to personality clashes, conflict due to different needs, roles, goals, interest.
different needs,
Economic Conflict:
It arises due to competing motives to obtain scarce resources. Each
group wants to maximize its gain at the cost of other party. Economic
conflict will not be resolved by improving communication, but by
difficult and detailed negotiations among the parties.
Power Conflict:
Power conflict arises when each party wishes to maximize the
influence it has. This type of conflict usually ends in a victory for one
party and a defeat for another, or in a standoff that involves a
continuing state of tension. The crucial issue is not resource scarcity
or differences in basic values, but simply a question of control and
related matters such as pride, recognition and future material rewards
that power may bring.
Value Conflict:
It involves incompatible principles and practices that people believe
in- their ideology, religion, political system and culture. E.g. Marxist Vs Capitalist, Religious
conversion etc.Since the value conflicts lie at the very heart of a person / peoples identity, they
are extremely difficult to resolve.
Most conflict involve a mixture of realistic economic, power or value differences as well as
unrealistic ingredient of misperception and miscommunication. Usually a conflict may begin
from one source but broaden to include other elements.
Box: Consequences of conflict

Consequences of conflict Conflict Risk Factor -Institutional


Interrupting food access or production Executive branch domination
Restricting access to agricultural or grazing land Compliant judiciary
Restricting access to water and other natural resources Weak independent media
Causing the labor market to collapse
Divided, ineffective political parties
Preventing markets from operating, causing price spikes, or
Limited minority representation
destroying or blocking market and trade routes
Disrupting banking systems and government services, either as a Corruption and lack of
result of capacity failure or deliberate action accountability at local and national
Stripping, burning or looting assets of marginalized or targeted groups levels
Displacing civilians Weak, ethnically segmented civil
Destroying infrastructure society
Encouraging or enabling sexual violence against women and girls Corrupt, ineffective police force
The breakdown of law and order

E. Types of conflict:
Personality clashes:
It occurs when two people who have to see each other frequently cause negative feelings and
reactions in one another. Often these people share common goals, but they cannot get along. E.g.
he hurts me
Different needs:
Roles: Role expectation can cause conflict
Goals: lack of clarity or disagreement about the goals of the program
Conflict of interest: e.g. higher wages

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Box: Understanding Conflict as a Strategy in Social Change

Understanding Conflict as a Strategy in Social Change


Conflict, as a strategy, is an attempt to coerce power after understanding and reason fail. There are
individuals and groups who use conflict as a strategy to achieve their goals and change existing
conditions. They may instigate conflict to gain recognition and call attention to their message. They
usually want people higher in the power structure to address their problem. In effectively approaching
in such situations, it is necessary to understand how conflict can be used as a strategy in social
change. One of the necessary "tools" in conflict management is an awareness and understanding of
the strategies that agitators use in generating conflict.

Saul Alinsky was one of the major advocates of using conflict to achieve group goals. His basic
strategy was to organize community and neighborhood groups to "establish a creative tension within
the establishment". Whether the tension was creative or not, tension was frequently "created".

Those who utilize the conflict approach may use disruptive tactics to call attention to their position.
These tactics may range from non-violent protests - boycotts and sit-ins - to violence.

Community development professionals appear to be divided on the use of conflict. Some community
development workers feels: "Conflict itself...of some kind or degree is a major determinant of change
and far from moving to avoid or immediately dissolve it, it may often be entirely appropriate even to
stimulate it." Many reject conflict because they feel that decisions reached through community
consensus and cooperation is the best method to achieve social change. Conflict, it is argued, may
stimulate participation in the decision making process but provide only a temporary stimulus and
prevent the development of a permanent foundation for participation. Many individuals who find
conflict distasteful may be repelled states that although benefits often accrue when conflict is properly
used, there are risks involved in using conflict in community organizations. Nonviolent conflict may
turn violent, and conflict may produce unexpected results. Conflict may also result in the identification
of the wrong "enemy." As Robinson and Clifford (1974) notes, "Alinsky demonstrated that his
approach would bring change. Sometimes his methods generated great unrest and created much
stress within communities. At other times, significant advances and social change occurred."

While many community development workers may not promote the use of conflict to bring about
change, it is necessary to understand how it may be used by groups in order to deal with conflict
situations more effectively when they arise.

Different kinds of conflict.


There are as many different meanings of conflict as there are books written about it. Here are
some useful ideas:
• Conflict is a serious disagreement or argument, a clash, a strike, a breaking, a confrontation, a
collision, a fight, a struggle.
• It can break out instantly or, more typically; it can build up over a long period of time.
• People in conflict talk of not being heard or not being listened to or not being understood. It is
as if we are each talking a different language. The more we try to explain, the worse the
disagreement becomes.
• Conflict feels like a threat to us: a threat to our needs or desires or beliefs. Sometimes it can
feel like a threat to who we are as a person.

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Competition implies an opposition in the goals of the interdependent parties such that the
probability of goal attainment for one decreases as the probability of other increases.
Aggression is a form of behavior intended to inflict injury to a person
or object.
Conflict Theory. A theory that views community and society as an
arena in which various groups compete to attain maximum gain for
themselves.
Conflict (or alienation) approach. A theory of society, which argues
that fundamental tensions or built in contradictions exist between the
powerful and the powerless – and these problems, can be resolved only through radical changes
in society.
Conflict handling modes / conflict resolution. Settlement of disputes that are mutually
satisfactory and that receive a long-term commitment from both the parties.
If there is a possibility to enjoy social justice without recourse to physical violence in any society then
there will be less conflict in that society. Systems that handle conflict openly and productively can
maximize the benefits while reducing the conflicts

One has to examine both the goals and the means of conflict in order to judge its acceptability.
Functional Vs Dysfunctional Conflict
Positive Vs Negative Conflict
Competition & Conflict
Competition Conflict
No direct action of one party to interfere with the ongoing Conflict interferes
activities of another e.g. track and field events
Competition occurs within a set of agreed upon rules. There is no agreed upon rules. All is
E.g.hockey fair in conflict

Effective livelihood programming in pre-conflict, conflict, and post-conflict situations require


creative thinking, flexibility, an understanding of the dynamics of the particular conflict, and
recognition of its local impact. Suggested measures to resolve conflicts
1. Promote resilience at the local level Utilizing local resilience-based strategies
2. Promote peace building and reconciliation
3. Use livelihood support to identify and counteract state weakness
4. Where state legitimacy is absent, work with trusted local actors
5. Develop gender-focused programming
6. Build economic linkages through the informal economy
7. Support livelihood efforts for populations displaced by conflict
8. Build flexibility into the planning and budgeting process

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Box: Casual Pathway of Conflict over Natural Resources -& Fresh water Conflicts

Causes of Freshwater Conflicts

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Consequences of conflict

Widespread, deadly violence now affects nearly 60 percent of the countries. While conflict can be an
inherent and legitimate part of social and political life, in many places the costs and consequences of
violent conflict, extremism, and state failure have become unacceptly high. By the year 2000, internal
conflict and repression had generated 14.5 million asylum seekers worldwide and nearly 25 million
persons were displaced within their own countries. Child soldiers, gender-specific atrocities, extremist
ideologies, and the targeting of aid workers are all part of "new war" scenarios. Violent conflict also
dramatically disrupts development. It discourages investment, destroys human and physical capital,
undermines the institutions needed for political and economic reform, redirects resources to non-
productive uses, and causes a dramatic deterioration in the quality of life.
Conflict is an inherent and legitimate part of social and political life. Democratic institutions, for
example, are not meant to eliminate conflict, they are designed to manage it and channel it in
productive directions.
Also, conflict is often a precursor to positive change, and one certainly should not try to avoid all
conflict if in so doing we eliminate protests that lead to democratic elections, or positive changes
status of women, or increased economic growth, or more sound environmental practices.
While there are many different causes of conflict, there is an emerging consensus that certain broad
clusters or categories of causes need to be in place for conflict to emerge. These are:
1) Causes that fuel incentives or motives for participation in violence;
2) Causes that facilitate the mobilization and expansion of violence;
3) Causes found at the level of state and social capacity to manage and respond to violence; and
4) Regional or international causes. If all of these are in place, there are also likely to be windows of
vulnerability — moments when events such as highly contested elections, natural disasters,
economic shocks, or riots — can trigger the outbreak of full-scale violence.
Positive and Negative Conflict

Positive and negative conflict.


Conflict can be extremely negative, but not all conflict is negative: it can also be very useful and productive. In
today‘s complex communities many people and organizations are working to bring about change – tackling poor
health, low educational achievement, rundown environments, high unemployment – and to manage the
challenges of cultural diversity. But changing things usually brings about conflict because there will be different
views between different groups involved: within and between statutory organizations; within and between
different communities; between young and old, men and women; between people of different cultures and faiths.
Expressing these different views is an essential part of the process of negotiation and change. Disagreeing with
the way things are is an important part of being a responsible member of society, and it is important for people
to have an opportunity to express their views in a safe space, without fear of condemnation or reprisals. Not
feeling you have that right is a sure way of generating conflict, but speaking different views will also lead to
conflict in the robust discussions that they cause.
This is positive conflict if it:
• is channeled into building trust and confidence between people.
• is channeled into finding positive solutions that meet people‘s needs.
• is contained within a set of rules which protect those involved and ensure no one is damaged by them.
• ensures that no one with the right to speak is excluded from the debate.
The key principle is that:
POSITIVE CONFLICT DOES NO HARM
It may be hard work, demanding, infuriating at times, but it does no harm to the participants. Indeed, the
reverse is true. Positive conflict can build trust and confidence between people if it means that important,
uncomfortable or opposing views are being spoken and not excluded. Sometimes it feels so uncomfortable that
we try to avoid or suppress positive conflict. We hope this Resource Pack will make you feel more robust about
positive conflict. We have all dealt with positive conflict many times. It is all a matter of confidence, patience and
belief in yourself.

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Types of conflicts arising in Natural Resource Management

Types of conflicts arising in Natural Resource Management


Intra micro–micro conflicts:
1. Disputes over land and resource ownership, e.g. between private and communal land owners;
2. Disputes over land boundaries between individuals or groups;
3. Latent family and relationship disputes;
4. Disputes due to natural resource projects being captured by élites and/or those who happen to
own resources of a higher quality;
5. Breaking of CPR constitutional or operational rules, such as protection agreements for grazing
areas, fish net sizes, forests, or misappropriation of funds, etc.;
6. Disputes over the unfair distribution of work and profits.
Inter micro–micro conflicts:
1. Conflict between land-owners and resource users;
2. Conflict between indigenous CPR groups, and more recent settlers;
3. Disputes generated by jealousy related to growing wealth disparities;
4. Lack of co-operation between different community groups;
5. Disputes over renewal arrangements for leased land;
6. Internal land ownership disputes ignited by the speculation activities of commercial companies;
7. Resentment built up due to lack of representation on village committees.
Micro–macro conflicts:
1. Contradictory natural resource needs and values, e.g. between wildlife habitat protection and local
livelihood security;
2. Cultural conflicts between community groups and outsiders;
3. Disputes over project management between community groups and outside project-sponsors;
4. Disputes caused by political influence (national, provincial or local);
5. Disputes arising from differences between the aspirations of community groups and expectations
of
6. NGOs or commercial companies;
7. Off-site environmental impacts affecting unintended third-parties.
Box: How is conflict resolution different than the legal approach?

How is conflict resolution different than the legal approach?


In the past few years, alternative dispute resolution methods, like conflict resolution, have
taken their place in the justice system along side of more traditional methods like talking
with a lawyer or going to trial.
Often differences between two or more parties can be resolved through the assistance of a
trained mediator. Community Conflict Resolutions encourages people to try this method of
resolving conflict or disputes before making a formal complaint to the authorities or
considering legal action.

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Common development pressures fuelling conflict

Common development pressures fuelling conflict over


Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM)
• The introduction of productivity enhancing technologies (e.g. synthetic fertilizers, agricultural
mechanization, permanent irrigation, joint management regimes, etc.) if poorly managed can place a
strain on the regeneration capacity of renewable natural resources.
• Growing awareness within rural communities and the private sector that commercial value can be
attributed to common property resources (wildlife, land, minerals, forests, fish, etc.) and that these
benefits can be accessed through the exertion of ‗private‘ property rights.
• Increasing importance of the cash economy to rural people and rising local aspirations for consumer
products.
• Lack of incentive for resource users (community groups and private organizations) to prevent
environmental and social impacts that adversely affect unintended third parties.
• Declining government public expenditure on essential rural services, e.g. health, education, water
and
electricity supplies, transportation, etc.
• New conservation policies, e.g. wildlife protection legislation.
• Government policies providing autonomy to communities to manage state-owned natural resources.
• Continuing rural-to-urban migration reducing the available labour for sustainable resource
management.
• Changes in rural employment activities resulting from the arrival of rural-based industries, e.g. crop
processing, manufacturing, extractive industries, oil and gas, construction projects, etc.
Conflicts arising from poor enforcement of natural resource management regulations
include:
• Private companies avoiding compliance and sanctions by threatening to withdraw their investment or
by manipulating the courts.
• A general lack of understanding of environmental laws and regulations by industries, governmental
agencies and the general population.
• Non-compliance arising from unrealistic requirements for pollution control technology and poor
implementation of environmental impact mitigation plans.
• Failure of the courts to enforce regulations because of prolonged legal processes, with the outcome
often unsupported by one or more parties.
• Perverse incentive structures promoted by conventional cost-benefit analysis.

Community situations where conflict resolution may be useful


Clients typically originate from within the following groups:
Neighbors (e.g. noise, pets, parking, fences, garbage, trees, communication)
Communities (e.g. land-use, water, community leaders)
Schools (e.g. teacher/student, student/student, parent/teacher)
Not-for-profit groups (e.g. social service groups, churches, cultural support groups)
Other community-based organizations (e.g. recreational sporting or hobby groups)
Volunteer organizations/ societies
Families (e.g. parent/child, couples, child/child)
Referrals from our collaborative partnership agencies
Referrals from municipal services departments

Box: Model Conflict Analysis Mapping

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Box: Types of conflict

Types of Conflict
* Community conflict * diplomatic conflict * economic conflict * emotional conflict*
environmental resources conflict * external conflict * group conflict* ideological conflict
* international conflict * interpersonal conflict * inter societal conflict * Intrastate conflict
(for example: civil wars, election campaigns) * intrapersonal conflict * organizational conflict*
intra-societal conflict * military conflict* religious-based conflict * workplace conflict * data
conflict* relationship conflict * racial conflict

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Box: Conflict mapping & Community Conflict

Community Conflict
The potential for community conflict exists
whenever and wherever people have contact.
Communities faces increasing community
conflicts due to the cultural, linguistic and
ethnic diversity associated with its changing
population. Communities and government
services are being redefined and, at the same
time, neighbors are facing unfamiliar lifestyles
in their neighborhoods. Stresses caused by
economic or social change can impact
community resources, leaving groups feeling
that they are being denied government
services at the expense of other groups. Law
enforcement, schools and local government
officials are increasingly affected by resulting
tensions and need to be prepared when serious
conflict erupts.
Community conflict also can occur when
individuals or groups perceive or experience
discriminatory behavior directed at them by an
agency or its representative, by members of
another group, or by members of their own
group. For example, a high-profile case of
police misconduct, an incident of violence on a
college campus, a hate crime or case of
discrimination can polarize a community. All of
these events can produce stress on community
residents, often resulting in disagreements
over what should be done to solve these
problems. This stress can even lead to open
conflict within the community.

Conflict - Careers and education


Conflict resolution is an expanding field of professional practice, both in the U.S. and around the
world. The escalating costs of conflict for both organizations and individuals has led to the
increased use of arbitrators, mediators, and other neutrals, including fact-finders, facilitators, and
ombudsmen to resolve such conflicts. The expansion of the field has also resulted in the need for
managers, union representatives, attorneys and advocates, administrators, and consultants to
acquire the skills and expertise necessary to handle disputes effectively.

Several universities offer programs of study pertaining to conflict management. The Cornell
University ILR School houses the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution, which offers
undergraduate, graduate, and professional training on conflict resolution.

Furthermore, the Pax Ludens Foundation based in the Netherlands is an organization that puts
together conflict resolution simulations set in an International Relations scenario to help students
learn about the intricacies of where conflict emerges in the world of international politics.

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S.Rengasamy –Conflict in Community Setting Part I

Conflict resolution is a growing area of interest in UK pedagogy, with teachers and students both
encouraged to learn about the mechanisms which lead people towards aggressive actions, and
those which lead them towards peaceful resolution.

In many schools in the UK, conflict resolution has now become an integral part of the SEAL
(Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) programme, chiming, as it does, with the SEAL
principles of developing social skills and an understanding of one’s own feelings.

Box Examples of Types of conflicts arising in Natural Resource Management .

Examples of Types of conflicts arising in Natural Resource Management.


Intra micro–micro conflicts:
• Disputes over land and resource ownership, e.g. between private and communal land owners;
• Disputes over land boundaries between individuals or groups;
• Latent family and relationship disputes;
• Disputes due to natural resource projects being captured by élites and/or those who happen to own
Resources of a higher quality;
• Breaking of CPR constitutional or operational rules, such as protection agreements for grazing areas,
fish net sizes, forests, or misappropriation of funds, etc.;
• Disputes over the unfair distribution of work and profits.
Inter micro–micro conflicts:
• Conflict between land-owners and resource users;
• Conflict between indigenous CPR groups, and more recent settlers;
• Disputes generated by jealousy related to growing wealth disparities;
• Lack of co-operation between different community groups;
• Disputes over renewal arrangements for leased land;
• Internal land ownership disputes ignited by the speculation activities of commercial companies;
• Resentment built up due to lack of representation on village committees.
Micro–macro conflicts:
• Contradictory natural resource needs and values, e.g. between wildlife habitat protection and local livelihood
security;
• Cultural conflicts between community groups and outsiders;
• Disputes over project management between community groups and outside project-sponsors;
• Disputes caused by political influence (national, provincial or local);
• Disputes arising from differences between the aspirations of community groups and expectations of NGOs or
commercial companies;

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S.Rengasamy –Conflict in Community Setting Part I

What are community-based conflicts? groups over resource ownership, rights and
(Example. Natural Resources) responsibilities.
People normally use resources like forests, water, Community-based conflicts (natural resource) are
common property resources and land, and want to often very complex. There are usually many causes
manage them in different ways. Knowing about and many interconnected issues, making it hard to
these different uses and management can help to identify the key issues in the conflict.
inform successful management so that everyone It is sometimes helpful to think of conflict as
benefits as much as possible. However, such having the following three elements:
differences can also lead to conflict when: People: how people think about and relate to the
there is competition over material goods, conflict; their feelings, emotions and perceptions
economic benefits, property or power; of the problems and of the other people
parties believe that their needs cannot be met; involved;
parties perceive that their values, needs or Process: the way decisions are made, and how
interests are under threat. people feel about this. The decision-making
Sometimes it is best to monitor a conflict without process is often overlooked as a key cause of
intervening. Such conflicts are problematic, but are conflict. However, resentment, feelings of being
unlikely to become disputes and are not treated unfairly and a sense of powerlessness
dangerous. At other times, however, if a conflict is are often rooted in this area.
ignored, or attempts to manage it fail, it can grow Problems: the specific issues and differences
into a dispute or some other form of confrontation. among the people, groups and agencies
A dispute occurs when a conflict over a specific involved. These often include different values,
issue or event becomes public. A dispute can be a incompatible interests and needs, or concrete
fight, an appeal to authorities, or a court case. The differences regarding the use, distribution or
difference between disputes and conflict is accessibility of scarce resources. They are often
important. All disputes reflect conflict, but not all referred to as the "root causes" of conflict, about
conflicts develop into disputes. which people tend to take clear and strong
Some conflicts may develop into disputes quickly. positions.
Others remain latent for a long time until triggered There are several factors that lead to conflicts
or aggravated by something new, such as a Growing competition over natural resources
development project or the arrival of outside Natural resources are increasingly subject to
interests. intense competition. In most cases, several factors
Community-based conflicts may occur at the local are responsible for this, including:
level, but often involve regional, national or even demographic change (e.g. population growth,
global actors. They range from conflicts among migration and urbanization);
local men and women over the use of land, to market pressures (e.g. increased
conflicts among communities disputing control over commercialization, intensification and
common resources, or fishers disagreeing about privatization of local economies, growing
the devices used for fishing. Community-level integration of national and global economies,
conflict might involve government agencies, economic reforms);
domestic and multinational businesses, politicians, Environmental changes that force people
international development agencies and non- to alter their livelihood strategies (e.g.
governmental organizations (NGOs). floods, recurrent droughts, altered river flows,
A dispute may also break out at different levels. At changes in wildlife migration).
one level, the main issue could be access to or However, increased competition is not always the
control over the resources that people depend on. only cause of conflict. Four important conditions
At another, the dispute could relate to more deeply influence how access to resources could become
rooted issues such as recognition, rights, identity contested. These are:
or the ability to participate. the scarcity of a natural resource;
The intensity of conflict also varies greatly - from the extent to which the supply is shared by two
confusion and frustration among members of a or more groups;
community about poorly communicated the relative power of those groups;
development policies, to violent clashes among

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S.Rengasamy –Conflict in Community Setting Part I

the degree of dependence on this particular when they are acknowledged legally, so State law
resource, or the ease of access to alternative may continue to come into conflict with custom.
sources. Different authorities using different rules can then
Of course, increased demand for resources can make decisions that are contradictory - one
result in responses other than conflict. For decision in customary law, another in statute law.
example, it can lead to agricultural intensification Socio-economic change fuelling conflict
(using fertilizer, terracing, irrigation, multiple When society and the economy undergo change, it
cropping, stall-feeding livestock, tree planting, is not surprising if the interests and needs of the
etc), increased reliance on non-farm/off-farm community also change. Economic development
income, or increased commercialization of often increases pressures on natural resources,
production. These new adaptations may in turn and this can trigger conflict or make existing
generate conflicts, as resource use patterns are conflicts worse. The following are some examples:
altered. Introduction of new technologies, synthetic
Structural causes of conflict fertilizers, agricultural mechanization or
Established organizations and patterns govern how permanent irrigation
the law works, how education and health services Commercialization of common property
are provided, and how women and men, old and resources:
young people live as families and communities. Migration
These could be described as the way in which Perverse incentives:
society is organized or structured. Conflicts are Policies, programmes and projects (Natural
often underpinned by this structure. resource management) as sources of conflict
A conflict may involve one issue - for example, a New policies of decentralization, devolution and
boundary dispute between two villages. This collaborative management increase the decision-
could be addressed by local people using making power and influence of local communities,
customary law. But if someone wants to use State households and individuals. Such policies
law, the conflict becomes more complicated. A encourage communities to become more involved
structural conflict may arise because customary in decisions affecting their own livelihoods and the
law and State law are organized differently; one resources on which those livelihoods are based.
is local and the other national. State law is usually Although such policies are helpful for sustainable
stronger, and the conflict may then move from a livelihoods, the successful introduction of greater
boundary dispute to one about people's rights and power sharing among different groups is often
identity. challenging.
Deeper, structural issues such as this often have Policies, programmes and projects themselves can
roots in long-standing conditions, such as the way serve as sources or arenas of conflict, even though
in which wealth or power is produced, distributed their intention is to reduce conflicts or improve
or controlled in society. Broader social, political, livelihoods. Reasons include the following (FAO,
economic or legal frameworks within a society may 2000):
be perceived as unjust, ineffective or exclusionary. Policies imposed without local participation:
This makes it harder to solve the problem. Poor stakeholder identification and consultation:
Structural conflicts often lie dormant until Uncoordinated planning:
awakened by other factors. Inadequate or poor information sharing:
Conflicts between official/statutory and customary Limited institutional capacity:
tenure systems cause major concern. Even if the Inadequate monitoring and evaluation of
great majority of rural people obtain their rights to programmes:
land through customary means, local land tenure Lack of effective mechanisms for conflict
arrangements often have an uncertain or insecure management:
position within national policy frameworks.
Customary land rights often remain unclear, even

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References
1. www.usaid.gov
1. A. Community-Based Development in Conflict-Affected Areas Guide
1. B. Conducting a conflict assessment
1. C. Livelihoods & conflict
1. D. Conflict-Related Publications http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/cross-
cutting_programs/conflict/publications/index.html
2. Community Conflict: A Resource Pack. The Tavistock Institute www.tavinstitute.org
3. Overseas Development Institute www.odi.org.uk
3. A. Community Development and Local Conflict: A Resource Document for Practitioners in
the Extractive Sector
3. B. Conflict Management in Community-Based Natural Resource Projects: Experiences from
Fiji and Papua New Guinea
3. C. Power, livelihoods and conflict: case studies in political economy analysis for humanitarian
action
4. Alternative dispute resolution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_dispute_resolution
5. Conflict http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict
6. Frequently Asked Questions about Conflict Resolution http://www.acrnet.org/
7. Negotiation and mediation techniques for natural resource management
http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/a0032e/a0032e04.htm
8. Conflict Management In Community Organizations Ohio State University Fact Sheet
http://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/index.html
9.Managing Conflict A Guide for Watershed Partnerships
http://www2.ctic.purdue.edu/KYW/nwn/nwn.html

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