Conceptions and practice
Diverse procedures exist to respond to various types of problems at personal, communal, and international levels. Disagreements over responsibility and liability (arising, for instance, from ordinary social settings) can be overcome by direct negotiation, mediation, or law suits with the application of established rules and regulations. In the international arena, governments can refer their territorial disputes to an international court system instead of fighting if direct negotiation or mediation fails. However, these formal methods (confined to handling “pure” interests-based disputes) have not proven adequate to balance the diverse needs of partisans in ethnic or class conflicts that tend to easily ignite violence. This chapter examines diverse ways to manage and resolve issues emerging from adversarial engagement in the pursuit of incompatible goals. Given the costs of destructive conflicts in the contemporary world, a creative approach to problem solving is essential. Keeping that in mind, we need to approach a wide range of theories and practices involved in the development of conflict regulation mechanisms. In managing a conflict process and determining its outcome, various approaches can be compared in terms of decision-making power, institutional roles, communication patterns, etc. In particular, the chapter will examine different intermediary roles (from fact finding to enforcement) and the context of intervention. These functions and activities will be covered in a discussion about adjudication, arbitration, mediation, negotiated rule making, and facilitated group processes.