Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal
Deborah J. Cantrell, Celebrating Mundane Conflict, 18 Pepp. Disp. Resol. L.J. 139 (2018), available at https://scholar.law.colorado.edu/faculty-articles/831.
This Article interrogates the dominant conception of conflict and challenges the narrative of conflict as hard, difficult and painful to engage. The Article reveals two primary framing errors that cause one to misperceive how ubiquitous and ordinary is conflict. The first error is to misperceive conflict as categorical — something either is a conflict or it is not. People make that error as a way of trying to avoid conflict. People falsely hope that there might be a category of “not conflict,” like disagreements, that will be easier to navigate. The second error is to misperceive the world and individuals as autonomous and atomistic. That belief allows people to mistakenly think that they can avoid conflict by maintaining disconnection. The factual truth, however, is that people constantly are in some web of interrelationships or interconnections. That very fact of relationality makes conflict ubiquitous, ordinary and unavoidable. The Article then argues that correcting those framing errors can lead to a very productive result. People can embrace and use mundane conflict as an accessible practice site through which to learn new cognitive skills and create new pathways to help them successfully maneuver through conflict.
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