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Between War and Peace: An Examination of Conflict Management Styles in Four Ethnic Conflict Zones

Polkinghorn, Brian
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) International Journal of Conflict Management. 12(1).

This study is a correctional assessment of variation in conflict styles among 384 university students living in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel, Northern Ireland, and South Africa according to a number of demographic and social membership variables. The context in each of these settings is one of tense social unrest and in some cases low scale warfare including terrorism imposed by paramilitary groups, violence that is brought on by long standing ethnic hatreds and years of division between major groups contending for control of political and social institutions. The findings suggest the political, social, economic, and cultural aspects can influence the ways participants from various groups engage in conflict. Identity based attributes are influenced by the perceived roles and relationships people think they have with others’ within the context of their nation and country. The results indicate that there are at least two independent observable patterns between the genders and among participants of various religious affiliations in regard to how people engage in conflict. The unresolved question is whether or not there are other motives for why people engage in conflict with members of other groups than those characteristics that are identity based.


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