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    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

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Record number 341381
Title Hybrid Forms of Conflict Management and Social Learning in the Department of Cusco, Peru
Author(s) Laats, H.J.
Source Wageningen University. Promotor(en): N.G. Röling; Georg Frerks. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789085043249 - 199
Department(s) Communication Science
Chair Disaster Studies
Publication type Dissertation, internally prepared
Publication year 2005
Keyword(s) conflict - bedrijfsvoering - natuurlijke hulpbronnen - hulpbronnenbeheer - participatie - gemeenschappen - milieueffect - sociale gevolgen - peru - conflict - management - natural resources - resource management - participation - communities - environmental impact - social impact - peru
Categories Conflicts
Abstract The dissertation tries to give answers to complex questions and dilemmas dealt with by an advisor on "management of conflicts about natural resources". Conflict management is defined as the actions of internal or external actors that aim to give a "positive" turn to the course of a conflict. Firstly, it deals with the social and environmental impact of conflict management. Secondly, it studies whether it is a short-term activity or if it can contribute to transformation and social learning in a society. Thirdly, it looks into the influence of prevailing paradigms on conflict management, and lastly, it makes some suggestions to improve conflict management. To get a better insight in the possibilities of change and transformation, an understanding of the social construction of conflict management and the possibility of social and interactive learning are crucial factors. For this, the dissertation examines whether learning by individuals is "socially conditioned" and whether "social aggregates do learn". Furthermore, it looks into the interaction between intervention, local conflict management, scaling-up and research.

The study of "prevailing conflict management paradigms" is a central issue; because a practical and theoretical problem of conflict managers is that they are guided (consciously or unconsciously) by a set of principles and assumptions. This makes that they can be shared (by themselves and by outsiders) under a certain category, label, paradigm or ontology. These may conflict with each other.

Examples are:

A traditional role of conflict management lies by public forces: law making, law enforcement and law interpretation. According to these logics conflict are managed with the use of power. Most scholars categorise this as formal conflict management.

In the last decades, however, it is recognised world-wide that formal conflict management has many shortcomings. As a response, since the 1960's alternative dispute resolution or alternative conflict management is gaining importance. The main practitioners of this kind of conflict management are people belonging to private organisations.

Furthermore, in "multicultural societies", local conflict management practices appear to be more effective than the application of (formal) conflict management mechanisms that are the product of the "dominant" culture.

A fourth category is market-oriented conflict management. Market forces are a possible cause of conflict and some see market forces as a way to manage conflicts.

Other scholars suggest conflict transformation as an alternative, giving more emphasis to long-term goals. I consider social learning as an approach that focuses on transformation.

The study shows that also other conflict management categories, labels or paradigms can be distinguished.

During the course of the study, the author,HenkjanLaats, realised that by choosing social learning as a starting point, he shared himself under a category. During the remaining part of the study, he tried to avoid "paradigmatic" thinking and at the same time he realised that this only would be possible up to a certain extent.

To answer the earlier mentioned research questions, he studied the organisational process regarding conflict management of CentroBartoloméde LasCasas(CBC). Between 1997 and 2004,HenkjanLaatsworked for this NGO based inCusco,Peru. From 1985 onwards, CBC, especially through its programme Casa Campesina, adopted conflict management gradually as a main working line.

By means of three additional case studies, the dissertation describes the impact of conflict management by CBC in "field" cases, and its interaction with local conflict management and conflict management by other third parties. One case dealt with multiple conflicts of a rural community (Nueva Esperanza de Ccapana). The second case was about a conflict between a mining company and four rural communities in the district of Carhuayo. The third case studied conflicts about the use of the Inca Trail, a mayor tourist destination which leads toMachuPicchu.

In the case studies both conflict management according to a sole "prevailing conflict management paradigm" and "hybrid forms" of conflict management with an interaction of paradigms occur. In some cases conflict paradigms clash, in other cases they form a synergy. Also other paradigms, which are not prevailing conflict management paradigms, play a significant role in conflicts. The search for "hybrid forms" of conflict management in which conflict paradigms form a synergy is major task for conflict managers.

The case studies furthermore show that social learning is diverse and unpredictable, and has a tense relation with "bottlenecks" such as power "abuse", unwillingness and spoilers. For a better understanding of social learning in conflict management it is helpful to distinguish different "levels" such as individual learning, organisational learning, social "group" learning, social learning by all stakeholders, and social learning in the surroundings. One should also take into account the different aggregates of social learning and conflict transformation. Furthermore, one should not only look into the possibilities of social learning, but also consider/prevent the possibility/risk of (collective) loss of memory. By interpreting social learning in a wide sense, one can, on the one hand, appreciate "partial" social learning and, on the other hand, appreciate methods which do not have a (direct) social learning component, but which aim to deal with bottlenecks, and, as such, in the long-term may contribute to social learning/transformation processes.

In general, the study shows that conflict management can result in positive social and environmental impact. However, the impact is different in every case, and cannot be predicted. Therefore, for its improvement one cannot follow guidelines. In this context, the suggestions to improve practice comprise some broad principles that do not guide but help a conflict manager to deal with such factors as complexity, unpredictability and uniqueness.

Within a conflict management process, phase managers and process facilitators are distinguished in order to get a better insight on the influence of paradigms on conflict management, and in order to discuss the issues of social learning and conflict transformation.

Although visions, worldviews and ideologies of conflict managers often are incompatible, in the course of a conflict the managers may converge on solution or transformation. Because of their nature, the task to bring together different phase managers with different paradigms lies with process facilitators.

Aconflict management processhowever is an actor network that develops according to a multitude of relations among human and non-human beings and one or more process facilitators always have a limited role. Therefore, process facilitation is not so much a steering activity, but more an observing and correcting activity in which both rational and perceptive factors play a role. A process facilitator analyses the conflict management process extensively and doing so, (s)hemay give advice and try to influence the process.

Because of different paradigms andontologies, process facilitators will not always be able to understand or appreciate all actions of the different phase managers. Therefore a process facilitator should regard the actions of all phase managers with respect and with an open mind. It also means that the process often only can be assessed retrospectively. 

Although humbleness, absence of a general truth, complexity and locality are essential factors of conflict management, this study offers a device that may serve almost every conflict manager under any circumstance. The device is "PocoBosque" (little forest). POCOBOSC refers to po sitioning, co gnition, dealing with bo ttlenecks and sc aling-up. Evaluating my own experience, observing other conflict managers and analysing the case studies of this book, it appears that these issues often do not get sufficient attention in conflict management. A permanent reflection on these themes avoids confusion of roles, prejudgement, frustration because of obstruction, and isolated action.
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