chapter  4
16 Pages

Conflict: Local and Global

Conflict is something we encounter every day. Perhaps this is because conflict can vary so

much in degree and connotation, simultaneously conjuring war, violence, opposition, debate,

resolution, borders, sanctions, politics, and even consensus. Then there are the conflicts we

experience within ourselves, with friends and family, and ethical and moral dilemmas. In

perusing the newspapers, the complexity of conflict emerges-debate over finance legislation;

people engaged in war over resources, identification, homelands, and religion; protests against

climate policy and education; worker strikes; and control of territories and markets. If we

decide to engage in and understand what is happening in the world around us, then it seems

that conflict asks us to make a choice, presenting possibilities and ethical dilemmas. What

is possible then? How do we choose? What once seemed clear as either right or wrong is in

a tangle, the question of truth a concept superfluous and indeterminate. But we can always

proceed by considering how we find ourselves connected to the world, and how this informs

our assumptions and prejudices, and frames our understanding, not only of entities, people,

places, phenomena, and things, but also of the role that our expectations play. If conflict can be

framed in this way, it becomes clear that having any understanding of the world-or our sense of

self-is a demanding and ongoing process.