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

Controlled Confrontation  

by Paul Wehr

Opening Page | Glossary | Menu Shortcut Page

Conflict groups can develop ways of doing conflict that permit escalation while controlling runaway processes. For example, negative mutual reinforcement can be interrupted and shifted from violent to nonviolent force. Proliferation of issues can be prevented if conflict groups limit the struggle to one issue at a time. Interpersonal antagonism and hostility can be avoided if conflict group leaders make a serious effort to maintain cordial personal relations with their counterparts. Distorted information can be minimized through a shared system of rumor control and open communication between leaders. The chance of leader extremism can be reduced through training of second-level leaders in how to moderate conflict.  Confrontation should be seen as a self-conscious and bi-directional process of power-testing, constantly escalating and de-escalating.   Another way for conflict groups to control escalation is to frame the conflict as a joint struggle with their opponents for an acceptable transformation of their relationship. The outcome would not involve the elimination or diminution of either, simply an altered relationship acceptable to both. The conflict would be moderated by certain rules and principles.  Challenges, then, would be less threatening, less absolute since they would not require the elimination of an opponent. 

Links to Examples of Controlled Confrontation

Paul Wehr-Gandhian Satyagraha: An Example of Controlled Confrontation
Though he didn't use the term, Gandhi's strategy of satyagrapha was an excellent example of controlled confrontation.


Links to Related Approaches

Constructive Confrontation

Treating Communication Problems

Treating Escalation Problems

Links to Related Problems


Communication Problems

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