Community Leadership and Alternative approaches to Western Conflict Resolution Models

Authored by: Bezen Balamir Coşkun

Routledge Handbook of Conflict Response and Leadership in Africa

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367332228
eBook ISBN: 9780429318603
Adobe ISBN:


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Culture is one of the often analysed variables in both conflict and conflict resolution. In the literature, Moore (1974) and Gilady and Russett (2002) discussed the parties’ political cultures during conflict resolution processes. Bercovitch and Elgström (2001) evaluated the national culture in their analyses of conflict resolution in a similar vein. Generally, culture appears as a primary variable in different parties’ perceptions of conflict and conflict resolution. There is also a general agreement over the importance of cultural differences in conflict resolution and negotiations. In their studies, Katzenstein (1996), Barnett and Finnemore (1999), and Kier (1995) discussed the role of culture in national security perceptions and the states’ approaches towards the issues of security, conflict, and cooperation in international affairs. In a more recent study, Jeong (2008) evaluated the parties’ approaches to conflict and conflict resolution within the context of low-context culture–high-context culture (Jeong 2008: 29–30). According to Jeong, actors who socialize in high-context cultures tend to behave within social constraints and socially attributed attitudes. On the one hand, people from low-context backgrounds are inclined to follow institutional restraints and laws and rules to solve the problems (Jeong 2008). Jeong’s differentiation between low and high context not only determines parties’ approaches to conflict resolution but also the methods they choose for conflict resolution. According to Lederach (1995), parties from low-context cultures prefer formal mediation models in mediation processes, whereas the ones from high-context cultures prefer informal mediation methods. In high-context cultures, mediators have to be chosen wisely from those who can have authority over conflicting parties and are respected by society.

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