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Title: Sharing reality : an insight from phenomenology to John Burton's problem solving conflict resolution theory
Author: Väyrynen, Tarja Helena
ISNI:       0000 0001 3543 6910
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 1995
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The starting-point of the thesis is the idea that conflict may be endemic and even functional. However, the question remains whether the man is inherently aggressive and violent. It is assumed in the thesis that every theory of conflict and conflict resolution consists of an image of human 'being' and human nature, and that one of the most seminal analyses a conflict analyst can engage in deals with these images. John Burton is one of the leading figures in the field of conflict and conflict resolution theory who introduced the notion of 'problem-solving workshop conflict resolution' to Internationa Relations in the late 1960s. The thesis focuses on how Burton applies human needs thinking to conflict and conflict resolution theory. It examines also what kind of 'model of man' is included in his theory. It is argued that Burton's biologically-based image of human 'being' leads him to deny culture its constitutive role in conflict and conflict resolution. In other words, Burton's conception of universal human needs which function as motives of behaviour offers a potent way to defuse contextualism. As a consequence, problem-solving workshop conflict resolution is thought by Burton to be essentially the same for all peoples of all cultures. In the second half of the thesis a social constructionist image of human 'being' which clearly challenges Burton's views, is introduced. It studies how social groups and institutions distribute knowledge, define reality through shared typifications and use language. Moreover, it is argued that reality as well as needs and identifies are socially and culturally constructed. Given this notion of human existence, the thesis claims that problem-solving workshop conflict resolution can be best understood to be an attempt to find a shared reality between the parties in conflict.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: JA Political science (General)