Conflict resolution
in Socio-ideological fantasy and the Northern Ireland conflict
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Jean-Paul Lederach is a leading proponent of transformation type conflict resolution who contends that conflict tends to occur where there are ethnic, regional and religious differences and arises over ‘long-standing animosities rooted in a perceived threat to identity and survival’ and thus armed conflict has security as its goal. Cohesion is seen as a desired goal of conflict by Lederach, and the irony, according to Lederach, is that the existence of division contributes to this desire. But cohesion, in Lacanian psychoanalysis, is a mirage. Diane Francis notes that conflict arises because injustice and oppression ‘characterise a substantial proportion of human relationships’. She places her emphasis on conflict resolution with active non-violence and highlights power and justice in this framework. For John W. Burton, conflict is not caused by power rivalries or ideologies and interests but by needs and values. He highlights the centrality of identity, security, and recognition to conflict. This chapter discusses traditional approaches to conflict resolution and their application to the conflict in Northern Ireland. It also explores Jacques Lacan's approach to change in the socio-ideological fantasy.


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