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.

usiplogo.gif (1499 bytes)

International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Understanding the Usefulness of Conflict

by Paul Wehr

Opening Page | Glossary | Menu Shortcut Page


If a society looks upon conflict as both friend and foe, it has a better chance of preventing serious and costly types of conflict. Analytic conflict theory has much to teach us about the dual nature of conflict. Simmel observes that social conflict may be as important for a healthy society as cooperation. All group relations have positive elements of attraction and negative ones of repulsion. Association and dissociation are facts of social life. The forces of social integration usually tend to eclipse those which force us apart. Society wants to stay together and thus ignores or suppresses conflict rather than acknowledging and using it. Conflict's functions, Simmel would argue, should be as prominent in how a society educates and trains its members as its dysfunctions. A society should be as inventive with its ways of doing conflict at minimal cost to all the actors concerned--nation states, groups, individuals--as it is with getting its members to cooperate. The more inventive it is, the less likely that inevitable social tensions will produce high-cost conflict.

Links to Related Approaches:

Accepting Rather Than Challenging the Situation

Goal Clarification

Conflict Transformation

Links to Related Problems:

Framing Conflict as the Problem

Supporting Literature:

Georg Simmel, Conflict and the Web of Group-Affiliations , New York: The Free Press, 1955


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