International Conflict Resolution
(Same as IPS 250 and PSYCH 383). This seminar examines the challenges of managing and resolving violent inter-group and international conflicts. Employing an interdisciplinary approach drawing on social psychology, political science, game theory, and international law, the course identifies various tactical, psychological, and structural barriers that can impede the achievement of efficient solutions to conflicts. We will explore a conceptual framework for conflict management and resolution that draws not only on theoretical insights, but also builds on historical examples and practical experience in the realm of conflict resolution. This approach focuses on the following questions: (1) how can the parties to conflict develop a vision of a mutually bearable shared future; (2) how can parties develop trust in the enemy; (3) how can each side be persuaded, as part of a negotiated settlement, to accept losses that it will find very painful; and (4) how do we overcome the perceptions of injustice that each side are likely to have towards any compromise solution? Among the conceptual issues we will examine include the problem of spoilers who seek to sabotage agreements, the role of mediators, the role international legal rules can play in facilitating or impeding conflict resolution, and the advantages and disadvantages of unilateral versus and reciprocal measures in advancing conflict resolution efforts. Particular conflicts we will explore include the Northern Ireland conflict, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the U.S.-Soviet Cold War rivalry.