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Conflict Research Consortium BOOK SUMMARY

The Resolution of Conflict

by

Morton Deutsch

Citation:

Morton Deutsch, The Resolution of Conflict.  New Haven CT, Yale University Press 1973.


This book summary written by: Conflict Research Consortium Staff.

The main thrust of Deutsch's inquiry, is the conditions that determine whether a conflict will be resolved with constructive or destructive consequences. (p. 8)

Variables which effect the course of the conflict (and therefore determine the constructiveness or destructiveness of the outcomes include:

(1) the characteristics of the parties including their values and motivations; aspirations and objectives; physical, intellectual and social resources; beliefs about conflict; strategy and tactics; and power relationships;

(2) their prior relationship to one another including attitudes, beliefs and expectations about each other, degree of polarization and trust;

(3) the nature of the issue giving rise to the conflict including its scope, rigidity, motivational significance, formulation, periodicity, etc.;

(4) the social environment within which the conflict occurs including the facilities and restraints, encouragements and deterrents, social norms, institutional conflict moderating processes;

(5) the interested audiences to the conflict including their relationships to the parties and to each other, their interests, their characteristics;

(6) strategy and tactics employed by the parties including their legitimacy or illegitimacy, the use of positive and negative incentives such as promises and rewards or threats and punishments, use of coercion versus freedom of choice, openness and veracity of communication and sharing of information, degree of creditability, degree of commitment, types of motives appealed to;

(7) the consequences of the conflict to each of the participants and the other interested parties including immediate gains and losses, precedence established, short-term effects, long-term effects, effects on reputations of the parties. 

Like Simmel (1955) and Coser (1956) Deutsch assumes that conflict is potentially of personal and social value.  The benefits of conflict, he says, include preventing stagnation, stimulating interest and curiosity, the airing of problems, the development of solutions, the root of personal and social change, conflict tests, individuals, it demarcates groups from each other and helps establish groups and personal identities, external conflict fosters internal cohesiveness.

Quoting Coser (156, pp. 154-55): "Conflict can have a stabilizing and integrative functions for the relationship. It enables social structures to readjust by eliminating sources of dissatisfaction and eliminating the causes for disassociation. Conflict frequently helps to revitalize norms; or it contributes to the emergence of new norms. Thus it is a mechanism for adjusting norms to new conditions. Internal conflict can also help maintain and continually readjust the balance of power between groups."

Page 9, "Since the outbreak of a conflict indicates a rejection of a previous accommodation between parties, once the respective power of the contenders has been ascertained through conflict, a new equilibrium can be established and the relationship can proceed on this new basis."

Although the objective characteristics of conflict is important, that alone does not   determine whether a conflict will be productive or destructive. Even under the most unfavorable objective conditions, conflicts can be handled in constructive ways.   Similarly, even the most favorable objective circumstances can lead to destructive conflicts if certain psychological factors are present.

On page 17, Deutsch suggests another distinction between destructive and constructive conflicts. These terms are easy to define at the extremes. Conflict has destructive consequences if its participants are dissatisfied with the outcomes and they feel they have lost as a result of the conflict. A conflict has productive consequences if the participants are satisfied with the outcomes and feel they have gained as a result of the conflict. The basic question to which this work is addressed is how to prevent conflict from being destructive. Page 17, "the point is not how to eliminate or prevent conflict but rather how to make it productive." This inquiry does not deal with situations of what Deutsch calls pure conflict in which one side inevitably loses what the other gains; rather he is interested in conflict where there is a mixture of cooperation and competitive interests, and a variety of outcomes is possible: lose-lose, win-lose, or win-win. Restating his thesis, he says he is investigating the conditions under which the participants will evolve or a competitive relationship in a situation which permits either.

Deutsch's typology of conflicts

On page 12, Deutsch sets out his own typology of conflicts which he likens to that set out earlier by Boulding in 1962, Rapoport in 1960 and various articles in the first issues of the Journal of Conflict Resolution 1957. His typology includes

( 1)vertical conflict, which is conflict that exists objectively and is perceived accurately.  It not contingent upon some easily altered feature of the environment.

(2) Contingent conflict, which is contingent upon an easily altered feature of the environment.

(3) Displaced conflict, where the parties are arguing about the wrong thing. The conflict being experienced is the manifest conflict, while the one that is not being directly expressed is the underlying conflict. Frequently, the manifest conflict is a symbol of the underlying conflict, but it is a safer way to express what is going on because the underlying conflict is seen as too volatile or too dangerous to deal with directly. Page 13: "Often manifest conflict can only be resolved temporarily--unless the underlying conflict can only be resolved temporarily--unless the underlying conflict is dealt with or unless the manifest conflict can be separated from the underlying conflict and treated in isolation. On the other hand, sometimes the resolution of an underlying conflict is expedited by dealing with it initially in its safer, displaced forms, which often seem more approachable because they are less cosmic in their applications than the underlying conflict."

(4) Misattributed conflict where the conflict is between the wrong parties and over the wrong issues.

(5) Latent conflict, a conflict that should be occurring but is not.

(6) False conflict where there is no objective basis for a conflict at all. This occurs when there is misperception or misunderstanding. These types of conflicts are not mutually exclusive.

Conflict Issues

On page 15 and 16, Deutsch lays out five basic conflict issues. These include (1) control over resources, (2) preference and nuisances, (3) value conflict, (4) conflicts over beliefs about what is: facts, information, (5) the nature of the relationship between the parties, domination conflicts.

Chapter 13: Factors Influencing the Resolution of Conflict

Deutsch starts by characterizing destructive conflicts. These conflicts have a tendency to expand and escalate. Page 351: Destructive conflict is characterized by a tendency to expand and escalate. As a result, such conflict often becomes independent of its initiating causes and is likely to continue after these have become irrelevant or have been forgotten. Expansion occurs along the various dimensions of the conflict: the size and the number of the immediate issues involved; the number of motives and participants implicated on each side of the issue; the size and number of the principles and precedents that are perceived to be at stake; the costs that the participants are willing to bear in relation to the conflict; the number of norms of moral conduct from which behavior toward the other side is exempted; and the intensity of negative attitudes toward the other side.

Deutsch goes on to quote Coleman (1957, p. 14) saying that escalation can occur because of a Gresham's Law of Conflict: the harmful and dangerous elements drive out those which would keep the conflict within bounds. As the scope of the conflict expands, there is an increasing reliance, Deutsch says, upon power, threat, coercion and deception. There's a move away from persuasion, conciliation, minimization of differences and the enhancement of mutual understanding and goodwill. Within each of the conflicting parties, there's increasing pressure for uniformity of opinion and a tendency for leadership to be taken over by the more extreme groups who are better organized for combat and taken away from those that are more conciliatory.

Thus (p. 352), the tendency to escalate conflict results from the conjunction of three interrelated processes: (1) competitive processes involved in the attempt to win the conflict; (2) processes of misperception and biased perception; and (3) processes of commitment arising out of pressures for cognitive and social consistency. These processes give rise to a mutually reinforcing cycle of relations that generate actions and reactions that intensify conflict.

Opposing factors may serve to limit conflicts so that escalation does not develop. These include (1)cooperative bonds; (2)cross-cutting identifications; (3) common allegiances and memberships; (4) conflict limiting values, institutions, procedures and groups; and (5) the salience and significance of the cost of the escalating conflict. If these conflict limiting factors are weak, he says, it may be difficult to prevent a competitive conflict from expanding its scope. Even if they are strong, misjudgment and the pressures arising out of tendencies to be rigidly self-consistent, may make it difficult to keep a competitive conflict encapsulated.

On page 353, Deutsch lists main features of competitive processes that tend to perpetuate and escalate conflicts. These include  (1) unreliable and impoverished communication between conflicting parties. (2) Competition stimulates the view that a solution of the conflict can only be imposed by one side through superior force, deception or cleverness. (3) Enhancement of one's own power and minimization of the other's power becomes objectives. (4) Competition leads to suspicious hostile attitude that increases the sensitivity to differences and threats, while minimizing the awareness of similarities. This allows groups to treat the other in ways that would not be acceptable to treat one's own group members.

(5) In addition to competitive effects, misjudgment and misperception feed the escalation spiral. There's a basic psychological principle that causes people to interpret other's actions as hostile, while they interpret their own similar actions as benevolent. This alone causes the conflict to spiral upward in intensity. There is often a parallel bias in what is considered to be an equitable agreement for resolving the conflict because people think that differential legitimacy should be differentially rewarded. Page 355, The biased perception of what is a fair compromise makes agreement more difficult and thus extends conflict. A related psychological principle is the asymmetry between trust a suspicion. Trust when violated is more likely to turn into suspicion then negated suspicion is to turn into trust. Similarly it is easier to move from cooperation to competition then in the other direction. Also driving the escalation spiral is a process of commitment. The pressure for self-consistency, Deutsch says, may lead to an unwitting involvement in and intensification of conflict because one's actions have to be justified to one's self and to others. This explains U.S. involvement in Vietnam, pp. 356-7. Deutsch also points to the problem of situational entrapment in which people behave in a way that is expected to cause one result but it actually causes the opposite. Yet they continue to reinforce their initial behavior in an attempt to get what they wanted in the first place.

Nevertheless, destructive conflicts such as U.S. involvement in Vietnam, can be brought to a conclusion once the costs of continuing the conflict become so large that it is obviously senseless to continue. Unfortunately, this senselessness becomes apparent to decision-makers much later then it does to others who do not need to justify past decisions. Destructive conflict can also be aborted before running its full course if there is a strong enough community or third party who can compel the conflicting parties to end their violence.

On page 359, Deutsch discusses the course of productive conflict. The voluminous literature on social conflict, he says, neglects productive conflict between groups, rather focusing on pathological conflict. Page 359: Apart from the writings of people connected with the nonviolence movement, little attempt has been made to distinguish between conflicts that achieve social change through a process that is mutually rewarding to the parties involved in the conflict and one that is not. Yet, change can take place either through a process of confrontation, which is costly to the conflicting groups, or it can take place through a process of problem solving, which is mutually rewarding to the conflicting groups.

Deutsch assumes that the features of productive conflict resolution are similar to those involved in creative thinking. Creative thinking involves three key psychological elements These include (1) the arousal of an appropriate level of motivation to solve the problem; (2) the development of the conditions that permit the reformulation of the problem once an impasse has been reached; and (3) the concurrent availability of diverse ideas that can be flexibly combined into novel and varied patterns. On page 360 he says, one of the creative functions of conflict resides in its ability to arouse motivation to solve a problem that might otherwise go unattended. (p. 360) However, he continues: "acceptance of the necessity for a change in the status quo, rather than a rigid, defensive adherence to previously existing positions, is most likely, however, when the circumstances arousing new motivations suggest courses of action that contain minimal threat to the social or self-esteem of those who must change." Quoting Stein 1968: The circumstances conductive to the creative breaking-through of impasses are those that provide "the individual with an environment in which he does not feel threatened and in which he does not fell under pressure. He is relaxed but alert" (p. 361). Deutsch says: "Threat induces defensiveness and reduces both the tolerance of ambiguity and the openness to the new and unfamiliar; excessive tension leads to a primitivization and a stereotyping of thought processes." Also citing Rokeach, "threat and excessive tension lead to the closed rather than open mind."

Also important to successful conflict resolution is the availability of cognitive resources. Any factors that broaden the range of ideas and alternatives cognitively available to the participants in a conflict will be useful. In the last full paragraph on page 362, Deutsch argues that at the international, intergroup and interpersonal levels, much more training is available in waging or suppressing conflict then there is available in resolving conflict.

Page 362, he defines cooperative problem solving; a process in which conflict is viewed as a common problem in which the conflicting parties have the joint interest of meeting a mutually satisfactory solution. There are a number of reasons he says why a cooperative process is likely to lead to productive conflict resolution: (1) Cooperative processes aid open and honest communication of relevant information between participants; (2) It encourages the recognition of the legitimacy of the other's interests and of the necessity to search for a solution that is responsive to the needs of each side; (3) It leads to a trusting friendly attitude, which increases sensitivity to similarities and common interests, while minimizing differences; It stimulates a convergence of beliefs and values. Cooperation tends to lead to what Deutsch calls "benevolent misperception." Cooperation tends to minimize differences and enhance a perception of the other's benevolence. This has a dampening effect on conflict and makes escalation unlikely .

People can be committed to cooperation the same way they can be committed to confrontation. Deutsch lays out what he calls, "Crude Law of Social Relations." This law says, page 365, "characteristic processes and effects elicited by a given type of social relationship (cooperative or competitive) tend also to elicit that type of social relationship." Thus power, coercion, threat and deception result from and elicit a competitive relationship. Similarly, mutual problem solving, persuasion, openness and mutual enhancement elicit, and also are elicited by, a cooperative orientation. This can be summarized by saying "cooperation breeds cooperation, while competition breeds competition" (p. 367).

Summarizing on page 368, a conflict orientation that highlights mutual interests, seeks enhancement of mutual power and defines the conflict as a mutual problem is more likely to take a constructive course, then an orientation that emphasizes antagonistic interests, seeks to maximize power differentials and defines the conflict in win-lose terms. Similarly, a trusting, friendly orientation to the other with a positive interest in the other's welfare and a readiness to respond helpfully to the other's needs and requests is less likely to lead to a destructive conflict then a suspicious, hostile attitude with a readiness to exploit the other's needs and weaknesses and a negative responsiveness to the other's request. A perceived similarity in beliefs and values, a sense of common bonds and interest between one's self and the other is more likely to produce a constructive conflict, then a sense of opposed beliefs and values. Full, open and honest communication, free of monovalent distortion, which is persuasive rather then cohesive in form and intent, is less likely to lead to a destructive conflict then blocked, misleading or autistic communication. Deutsch suggests that the prior relationship between the parties is also important. If they had a successful cooperative relationship in the past, it makes it more likely that such cooperation will continue. On the other hand, failed attempts at cooperation make additional attempts unlikely. Past experiences of costly competitive conflict may or may not enhance the probability of cooperation in the future.

Other factors which influence the constructive or destructive character of the conflict include (1) conflict size; (2) centrality of the issues involved; (3) rigidity of the issues; (4) number of issues involved and their interconnectedness; (5) the consensus on issue importance; and (6) the degree to which the conflict is acknowledged. Conflict Size: larger conflicts are more likely to take a destructive course then smaller ones. Here conflict size is defined as "being equal to the expected difference in the value of the outcomes that a person would receive if he wins, compared with the values that he would receive if the other wins the conflict" (p. 369). Thus to minimize the size of a conflict one should try to diminish the perceived opposition in interests and beliefs through controlled communication, see Burton 1969; role reversal (Cohen 1950, Rapoport 1960); or encounter group exercises (Schutz 1967). All of these techniques allow parties to see how much they have in common and allow them to view their differences in terms of their similarities.

The assumption is also made that through improved open, full direct communication, misunderstandings can be eliminated and perceived differences will decrease. Occasionally, however, removal of misunderstandings sharpens the awareness of conflicting interests or beliefs. An awareness that might have been clouded by benevolent misunderstandings, see Johnson 1967. Fisher (1964) suggested the importance of issue control. Quoting Deutsch, p. 370: "Controlling the importance of what is perceived to be at stake in a conflict may be one of the most effective ways of preventing the conflict from taking a destructive course." In general, he says, short-term, localized conflicts are much easier to resolve constructively then conflicts that are defined in terms of principles, precedents, rights, so that the issues transcend time and space and are generalized beyond the specific actions to personalities, groups, races, or other large social units or categories. Page 370: "Thus when a quarrel starts to center on personalities or group memberships rather than specific actions, it usually takes a nonproductive turn. Similarly, when a discussion focuses on rights or principles rather than on what is specifically taking place at a given time and locale, it is not likely to be fruitful."

There is an opposing principle, however, that keeping the conflict small may facilitate maintenance of the status quo. Therefore those attempting to bring about social change may try to enlarge a conflict so that it becomes the focus of concerned attention. Another problem leading to destructive conflicts is issue rigidity. Rigidity may be a function of the people involved or the issue itself. Page 371: "Certain issues are less conducive to conflict resolution that other. Greater power over the other, victory over the other, having more status than the other are rigid definitions of conflict, since it is impossible on any given issue for each party in conflict to have outcomes that are superior to the others." The more central the issue is to the individual the more apt it is to be defined in a rigid way. Thus conflicts over issues that are considered to be central by both sides are often the most irreconcilable ones. Winner-takes-all conflicts are especially difficult to resolve. Therefore, if a single conflict can be broken down into a number of separate issue so that it is no longer an all-or-nothing matter, conflict is less likely to take a destructive course. Also helpful is a lack of consensus on the importance of different issues. If one side thinks one thing is more important and the other thinks another thing is more important, that will facilitate the resolution of a conflict between those two issues. Regarding consciousness of the issues, unacknowledged or unconscious conflict is harder to resolve then recognized conflict. Similarly, conflict between parties who do not recognize the existence and legitimacy of one another is more likely to be destructive then if they do. There are two major forms of unacknowledged conflict--displaced conflict and latent conflict. Other factors which lead to the destructiveness of conflicts include the ideologies, personalities, social positions, and personal resources of the conflicting parties. In general, similarities in beliefs, attitudes and values are usually conducive to compatibility and hence to cooperative resolutions of conflicts.

Third parties can either play a helpful or a harmful role. At times third parties can aggravate or instigate a conflict unwittingly. At other times however the mire intervention of an outsider may serve to unify the conflicting parties against the outsider. The parties may agree that it is their private conflict and both may fear or resent the intrusion of an outsider into their private affairs. Therefore, by intervention the third party can activate and make more salient the cohesive bonds between the conflicting parties that they were not aware of before. Third parties can also use prestige and power to encourage resolution by helping provide problem solving resources to expedite the discovery of a mutually satisfactory resolution.

Discussing the regulation of conflict, Deutsch says,: "It is evident that conflict can be limited and controlled by institutional forms (e.g., collective bargaining, the judicial system), social roles (mediators, conciliators, referees, judges, policemen), social norms (fairness, justice, equality, nonviolence, integrity of communication, etc.), rules for conducting negotiations (when to initiate and terminate negotiations, how to set an agenda, how to present demands, etc.), and specific procedures (hinting versus explicit communication, public versus private sessions, etc.)." All of these social structures may be aimed at regulating how force is employed. Or attempting to ascertain the basic power relations without resort to a power struggle as occurs in collective bargaining or international negotiations. Or it may be oriented toward removing power as a basis for determining the outcome of conflict, as is often the case in judicial processes.

For conflict regulation to develop, several preconditions are required. First of all, Deutsch says, conflicting parties must themselves be organized. Here he quotes Dahrendorf (1959, p. 226): "So long as conflicting forces are diffuse, incoherent aggregates, regulation is virtually impossible." Second, p. 378: "Each party to a conflict must be will to recognize the legitimacy of the other party and be committed to accepting the outcome of the regulated conflict, even if it is considered t be unfavorable to his interest." Third, recurrent conflicts are more likely to be regulated then unprecedented conflicts. Finally, p. 378: "The regulation of conflict is most likely to develop when both sides to a conflict are part of a common community." Deutsch then examines when adherence to rules is likely to occur.

He hypothesizes that adherence to rules is more likely when (1) the rules are known; (2) the rules are clear, unambiguous and consistent; (3) the rules are not perceived to be biased against one's own interest; (4) the other adheres to the rules; (5) violations are quickly known by significant others; (6) there is significant social approval for adherence and significant social disapproval for violations; (7) adherence to the rules has been rewarding in the past; and (8) one would like to be able to employ the rules in the future. Negotiations involving conflict of interests are more likely to have acceptable outcomes for the parties involved to the extent that they take place in the context of cooperative relations. Harmonious relations are less likely to occur, p. 381, when one or both sides (1) feels that their existence or their rights are threatened; (2) think that their survival is endangered; (3) are torn by internal factionalism; (4) have little local autonomy; (5) are constantly subjected to changing conditions.

Third party roles are as follows (1) helping the conflicting parties identify and confront the issues in conflict; (2) helping provide favorable circumstances and conditions for confronting the issues; (3) helping remove the blocks and distortions in the communication process so the mutual understanding may develop; (4) helping establish such norms for rational interaction as mutual respect, open communication, the use of persuasion rather than coercion and the desirability of reaching a mutually satisfying agreement; In other words, p. 384, "the conflicting parties are helped to fight fairly, that is, to fight under rules that prevent them from hitting one another below the belt or from yelling foul when a fair but intense exchange is taking place" (Bach and Wyden 1969). Fair rules of procedure are valuable in any kind of discussion but are vital in conflicts. The essence of fair rules is that they are unbiased. P. 385: "Although norms that encourage fair rules for fighting are useful in limiting destructiveness of a struggle, they are often not sufficient to encourage cooperative negotiations. The latter are facilitated by norms that emphasize recognition of the other's legitimacy, mutual respect, the desirability of a mutually satisfying agreement, and open communication." Third parties can do much to promote a social framework that is conducive to cooperative negotiations by enhancing all of these factors.

Third parties can also foster cooperation by helping determine what kinds of solutions are possible and making suggestions about possible solutions by helping make a workable agreement acceptable to the parties in a conflict and by helping make the negotiators an agreement that is arrived at seem prestigious and attractive to interested audiences, especially the groups represented by the negotiators. Third parties can help in resolving disputes constructively to the extent that they are known, readily accessible, prestigious, skilled, impartial and discrete. On p. 389, Deutsch lists types of influence procedures that are likely to elicit resistance and alienation. These include illegitimate techniques, which violate the values and norms of the other side; negative sanctions, such as punishments and threats; sanctions that are inappropriate in kind; or influence that is excessive in magnitude. Deutsch then considers what could be done by low power groups to enhance their power relationships. In order to be most effecting, Deutsch suggests (1) the low-power party make a clear statement of the specific actions and changes being requested of the high-power party; (2) the low-power party should express an appreciation of the difficulties, problems, and costs that the high-power party would incur if he complies with the low-power parties wishes. This appreciation should be combined with an expressed willingness to cooperate to overcome these difficulties and costs; (3) a depiction of the values and benefits that the high-power party will realize by cooperating with the other party; (4) a statement of the negative, harmful consequences that are inevitable for the high-power groups values and objectives if the low-power groups is not responded to positively; and (5) an expression of the power and resolve of the low-power group to act effectively and unwaveringly to induce the high-power group to come to an acceptable agreement. A message that contains all of the above elements strongly commits the low-power group to his objective. Yet it suggests the means of obtaining it are flexible and potentially responsive to the others grou's needs. However, rage or fear in the low-power group often makes it impossible for the members of the group to communicate a message of the sort described. Rage leads to an emphasis on destructive, cohesive techniques and precludes offers of authentic cooperation. Fear, on the other hand, weakens the commitment to the steps necessary to induce a change, unless it is the creditability regarding the idea that compliance will be withdrawn if change does not occur, p. 393. Both rage and fear are debilitation emotions. Rooted in the sense of helplessness and powerlessness. They're associated with a state of dependency. The ability to offer and engage in authentic cooperation presupposes an awareness that one is neither helpless nor powerless even though one is at a relative disadvantage. Page 394: "Unless one has the freedom to choose not to cooperate, there can be no free choice to cooperate. Black power is thus a necessity for black cooperation, black cooperation with blacks as well as with whites...Black power does not, however, necessarily lead to cooperation. This is partly because, in its origin and rhetoric, black power may be oriented against white power and thus is likely to intensify the defensiveness of those with high power." What can a low-power group do in such situations? They must increase their relative power sufficiently to compel the other side to negotiate. This is done by either of two means--increasing one's own power or decreasing the other's power. This is done by altering the resources that underlie power, which Deutsch lists on the top of page 395 as being wealth, physical strength, organization, knowledge, skill, trust, respect, and affection. Or one can modify the effectiveness with which the resources of power are employed. Page 395: "Potential power may not be converted into effective power because those who possess such power may not be aware of their power, or they may not be motivated to use it, or they may use their power inefficiently and unskillfully so that much potential power is wasted...Effective power depends upon the following key elements: (1) the control or possession of resources to generate power; (2) the awareness of the resources one possesses or controls; (3) the motivations to employ these resources to influence others; (4) skill in converting the resources into usable power; and (5) good judgement in employing this power so that its use is appropriate in type and magnitude to the situation in which it is used."

In general, low-power groups lack control over resources, such as money, guns and official position that are immediately related to economic, military and political power. Their primary resources are discontented people and having justice on their side. Utility of people is a function of their number, their personal qualities and their social cohesion and social organization. Cohesion is attained by working together on issues that are specific, immediate, and realizable. Pursuit of vague, futuristic, grandiose objectives will not long sustain cohesiveness. Low-power groups often have two other key assets that can be used to amplify their other resources--discontent and the sense of injustice. These may be latent rather then manifest. If it is latent, consciousness raising tactics are necessary precursors to the development of group cohesion and social organization. Alinsky (1971, p. 152) points out: "The basic tactic in warfare against the Haves is a mass political jujitsu: the Have-Nots do not rigidly oppose the Haves, but yield in such planned and skilled ways that the superior strength of the Haves becomes their own undoing" (p. 397). In general, it is a mistake to think that a high-power group is completely unified. Most groups have internal divisions and conflicts amongst their members that can be exasperated by foster mutual suspicions and by playing one side against the other.

Page 398-9, Deutsch summarizes a number of Alinsky's nonviolent techniques for empowering the low-power group and disempowering the Haves. In summary on page 399 Deutsch says: "Over the preceding several pages, I have discussed some of the strategies and tactics available to low-power groups in their attempt to compel a resistant high-power group to agree to a change in their relations...Apathetic resignation or destructiveness are not the only responses available in the face of a contrary authority. It is possible to increase the power of the have-nots by developing their personal resources, social cohesion, and social organizations so that they have more influence. And in jujitsu fashion, it is possible for the have-nots to employ some of the characteristics of the haves to throw the haves off balance and reduce their effective opposition."


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