Conflict Resolution across Cultures: Bridging the Gap



Conflict resolution in different societies reflects both particular and universal features. Specific understanding of and approaches to the disputing process are embedded within given cultural settings. This body of implicit, received truth is reflected both in actual behaviour and also in the language used by a society to talk about conflict. Every society has a vocabulary of specialized terms and expressions loaded with affective and metaphorical connotations. When conflict occurs across cultures, the ostensible issue under contention tends to be complicated by misunderstandings and procedural incompatibilities. Culturally grounded assumptions about conflict can be uncovered, in the first instance, by lexical analysis, and it is that convenient methodology that will be adopted here. Comparison of the meaning (and also, importantly, use) of relevant terms across cultures can then reveal potential sources both of dissonance and reconciliation. Identification of shared features of conflict resolution may then enable the parties to avoid pitfalls and construct bridging mechanisms. Two episodes in bridge-building, one international, the other inter-communal, will be analysed below and lessons drawn.


Conflict Resolution Jewish Community Alternative Dispute Resolution Oxford English Dictionary Semantic Field 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

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