OTPIC Officially Retired
As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.
The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.
International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict
Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA
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While people tend to resent being forced to do things against their will, the level of resentment increases dramatically when the force is seen as illegitimate. For example, most people think that it is legitimate for the police to enforce rules against reckless driving which endangers others. If people are arrested for reckless driving, they might resent it, but their resentment is likely to be limited if they know that they are guilty. Furthermore, their fellow citizens are likely to believe that the police were doing the right thing. If, on the other hand, the police were to threaten innocent drivers with reckless driving charges as a means of extracting bribes, this would be widely seen as illegitimate. The result is likely to be widespread resentment and hostility toward the police and government in general. It is also widely seen as illegitimate to ask officials to act in ways which clearly violate their responsibilities and would produce unfair decisions which would greatly favor one group over another. Similarly, use of military forces for conquest is widely seen as illegitimate; consequently, it is likely to produce an intense backlash effect. However, the use of military force to block aggression or acts of genocide is much more likely to be viewed as legitimate.
Force is also commonly viewed as illegitimate if it is seen as excessive and unnecessary. For example, it is generally considered inappropriate for parties to file a lawsuit before they try to negotiate a voluntary resolution of their complaint. Similarly, it is usually illegitimate for military force to be used before diplomatic options are exhausted. In a similar way, the use deadly force by the police is commonly viewed as illegitimate, unless there is truly no other way to protect the public (and the police officers). Also, it is generally considered inappropriate for workers to call a strike before they have honestly tried to negotiate an acceptable labor contract.
Although any use of force can generate resentment, steps which increase legitimacy are likely to reduce the backlash effect, hence increasing the likelihood that force will succeed over both the short and long terms. Parties which are being subjected to illegitimate uses of force are also more likely to attract sympathizers and allies. Conversely, parties which use force in legitimate ways are more likely to attract sympathizers and allies. These effects are likely to be especially strong for those who have not yet decided which side of a conflict to support.
Legitimizing the Use of Force
Failure to Anticipate Opponent Reactions and the Backlash Effect
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