Prof. Ana Fritzhand, PhD,  Assist. Igor Tashkovski, MSc

The Role of Socio-psychological Approach to Conflict Resolution in Maintaining (Inter)National Peace and Stability

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Conflicts, as it is already well documented, are inevitable part of people’s existence. They are neutral in their nature. Whether their outcome is positive or negative, depends on the approaches applied for their resolution. International conflicts, which are processes that affect international relations, also pervade the whole society. Therefore, when analyzing conflicts various dimensions should be accounted for. They include, but are not limited to, strategic, military and diplomatic, as well as the economic, psychological and cultural dimensions. All of these aspects interact with each other and define both intrasocietal and intersocietal processes that drive the conflict. This paper addresses several propositions about the nature of international conflicts which, according to Kelman (2007), are coming from the social-psychological perspective. One proposition is that international conflicts are processes driven from collective needs and fears. The other propositions claim that these conflicts are intersocietal, multifaceted processes of mutual influence, while in the same time they are interactive processes with an escalatory, self-perpetuating dynamics. As the same author points out, a new form of practice of international conflict resolution, called interactive problem solving, is based on social-psychological principles. We further analyze the potential of socio-psychological approach in resolving conflicts non-violently, by providing better understanding of the nature of conflict and highlighting the effective ways for building a culture of peace and thus maintaining peace and stability nationally and internationally.

Keywords: conflict resolution, international conflict, socio-psychological perspective, culture of peace.