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The research articles in this volume were initially presented at a conference, entitled “Cutting Edge Theories and Recent Developments in Conflict Resolution,” which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts (PARC) at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Presenters were encouraged to submit their papers for consideration, and following a rigorous peer review and revision process, nine articles were accepted. The volume explores some of the major themes of conflict analysis, including how powerful dominant discourses can both soothe and exacerbate conflict, the roles of civic organizations in promoting peace and incubating democratic principles, the ways in which different forms of dialogue are used to heal historically dysfunctional intergroup relations, and the importance of a deeply institutional, structural understanding of ethnocentrism and racism. The authors conducted their research in several different countries – the US, Canada, Bosnia, and Northern Ireland – and used a wide range of analytical techniques including in-depth interviews, surveys, and document analysis. What holds them together is the rigorous tie they make between theory and empirical data. Some authors have built conflict theory inductively, based on their own research and/or secondary sources, while others have tested existing models with empirical data. These articles collectively make a solid contribution to theoretical development in the conflict analysis field.
This chapter examines the goals and outcomes of intergroup dialogue through the evaluation of a dialogue program between city and suburban high school students located in…
This chapter examines the goals and outcomes of intergroup dialogue through the evaluation of a dialogue program between city and suburban high school students located in Syracuse, NY. The Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism, Improve Race Relations and Begin Racial Healing (CWD) organizers share with a wide range of conflict theorists and practitioners the impulse to bring citizens together to talk about complex social conflicts. Two of the main goals of this program, to build participants’ understandings of institutional racism and white privilege, are examined here. Drawing on in-depth interviews with a small sample of dialogue participants, a framework is developed for categorizing participant awareness and understanding of institutional racism and white privilege. The analysis suggests that relatively modest levels of understanding of both concepts should be anticipated from participants both before and after completion of a dialogue of this type. While dramatic changes resulting from the dialogue are not found, the data indicate that the dialogue does have demonstrable impacts on the ways participants think and talk about institutional racism and white privilege. The central challenges faced by participants in understanding the concepts, specifically ability to personalize white privilege and capacity to adopt structural ways of thinking about institutional racism, are identified and described. This research helps to clarify the range of outcomes we can feasibly expect when bringing citizens together to talk about social conflicts by providing a qualitative framework for measuring awareness and understanding of white privilege and institutional racism.
Thomas E. Boudreau graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude from Boston College. He completed his PhD in the Social Science Program in 1985 at the Maxwell School of Citizen and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. While at the Maxwell School, Boudreau was the research assistant for Donald T. Campbell, the Schweitzer Chair of the Humanities at Syracuse University. He also worked as Project Director of the Crisis Management and United Nations Research Projects at the Carnegie Council in New York City. He taught at the School of International Service at American University and the University of Pennsylvania before coming back to the Maxwell School where he currently teaches in the Political Science Department. He is also a research fellow at the Institute for Resource and Security Studies in Cambridge, MA, where he has specialized in issues of global governance, global climate change, and nonproliferation. Boudreau has written two books: Sheathing the Sword: The U.N. Secretary-General and the Prevention of International Conflict and Universitas: The Social Restructuring of Undergraduate Education in the United States. He is currently working on a third book, The Law of Nations: Legal Order in a Violent World. He has a special interest in interdisciplinary inquiry, especially competing epistemologies and how they contribute to interpersonal, intergroup, and international conflict.