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.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Ostracizing Losers

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Losing a dispute or force-based power contest can be a humiliating experience. This is especially true for parties who have been found to act in ways which are widely regarded as illegitimate and inappropriate (though not necessarily criminally punishable).

Losers are also likely interpret the rejection of their cause as evidence that there is no continuing place for them in the larger society. They often withdraw from other social activities because they fear that they will be ridiculed with their defeat being mentioned again and again. The result is likely to be the loss of the number of potentially beneficial relationships and continuation of intergroup tension that is likely to generate future disputes.

It is critically important that these individuals be re-integrated into the society in ways which clearly demonstrate that society will protect their legitimate interests and that they have an acceptable future look forward to. Failure to do this runs the risk of creating a group of permanent enemies who will be a source of continuing conflict.

Efforts to address this problem can proceed from both sides of the conflict. Winners can stress forgiveness and, where appropriate, amnesty.  Losers can, where appropriate, accept their guilt and apologize for their actions.  In cases were this is inappropriate, they may simply recognize that their preferences are not the preferences of larger society, yet accept the decision of the majority. What is important is an ability to look to a future and see a positive new relationship between winners and losers. This relationship can still retain continuing opportunities for constructive debate and conflict regarding the core issues.

Links to Possible Treatments for this Problem:

Apology and Forgiveness

Truth Commissions

Face-saving surrender

Re-integration of Losers

Links to Related Problems:

Assuming Monolithic, Worst Case Opponent

Pursuing Force to the Bitter End

Flight (Refugees)


Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu