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The Conflict Snowflake: An Eclectic Evolution of Conflict Theory

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Elizabeth Olsson
Michael Schulz
Publicerad i Swedish Peace and Conflict Network (PRIS), Biennial Symposium. Lund, 27-28 September
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för globala studier
Språk en
Ämnesord ABC model, conflict snowflake, conflict theory, contradictions, escalation
Ämneskategorier Freds- och konfliktforskning


Why do conflict episodes occur and, more importantly, what determines whether they manifest into destructive, constructive, or even neutral social experiences? We seek to answer these questions through the elaboration of a new theoretical model of fully articulated conflict: the Conflict Snowflake. This model serves as an alternative representation of conflict that draws from, synthesizes, and transforms significant contributions to peace and conflict research over the last 50 years. Specifically, the Conflict Snowflake incorporates and reconfigures the components of contradiction, attitudes, and behaviors described by Galtung; while identifying and integrating additional crucially important conflict features such context, needs, history, power, identity, beliefs, and emotions. We employ these fundamental conflict features to create a model of the four phases of fully articulated conflict: 1) contradiction, 2) interpretation, 3) manifestation, and 4) modification. We argue that our eclectic model provides new tools to understand both how and why conflicts occur and develop in particular ways. We conclude by demonstrating how the Conflict Snowflake model provides new avenues for conflict analysis through an exploration of the politicized insult, ‘snowflake’— a 150-year-old aspersion that took on new meaning in 2016. This analysis helps us to bring forward conflict features that are under-emphasized in the ABC model.

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