Human needs and problem solving approaches to creating new social structures : action research on conflict resolution in Georgia, 2000-2002
This dissertation analyses the design, implementation and results of problem solving research workshops conducted within a conflict prevention intervention in Georgia. The research goal is to explore: human needs theory as a conceptual framework; analytical problem solving as a methodology; and action research as an intervention strategy. The research themes of the dissertation are: what can be learned about new ways of using human needs theory in the design and conduct of conflict prevention and resolution interventions; what can be learned about options for and methods of conducting analytical problem solving workshops; and what can be learned about action research as a conflict intervention strategy - through a systematic comparison between existing theoretical frameworks and a field-based case study. The needs theory contributions of Burton and Max- Neef; problem solving workshop literature from Mitchell and Hoffman; and action research perspectives from Rothman are focal points. The dissertation argues, among other things, that while identifying the 'right people' to involve in an intervention is doable in the abstract, in fact there might be no right people on the ground who are available or willing to participate; that action research is a legitimate and credible intervention strategy for creating a safe space for dialogue, that a human needs conceptual framework such as Max-Neef's needs/satisfiers matrix can be a valuable tool for analysis and can be applied explicitly in the workshop setting; and that there are always problematic impacts on intervention design, conduct and evaluation due to time and resource limitations.