chapter  2
Radical disagreement and conflict analysis
Pages 19

A survey of the broad field of conflict analysis shows how and why the phenomenon of radical disagreement is generally discounted. It is regarded as epiphenomenal in contextual analysis, functional in internal analysis, and merely subjective in relational analysis. It is not recorded adequately in complex systemic conflict mapping.

Conflict analysis is over-determined. There are too many theories of conflict. It has been said that more has been written about conflict than about any other subject except love and God. Different conflict theories – often contested – lie at the heart of the biological, sociological, anthropological, political, historical and psychological sciences. Darwin, Nietzsche, Marx and Freud all based their thinking on conflict theories. For Machiavelli, conflict is a result of the human desire for selfpreservation and power (the Roman Empire was acquired as a result of successive prudent applications of the principle of ‘pre-emptive defence’); for Hobbes, the three ‘principal causes of quarrel’ in a state of nature are competition for gain, fear of insecurity, and defence of honour; for Hume, the underlying conditions for human conflict are relative resource scarcity and limited altruism; for Rousseau, the ‘state of war’ is born from ‘the social state’ itself, and so on.