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

General Information about Integrative Power Problems

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We use the term "integrative power" to refer to the power that holds people and societies together.  It is the bonds--the feelings of commonality, belonging, of respect-- that people have with others in their own "group."  (By "group" we mean family, or community, or religion, or workplace, or ethnicity--any source of identity that helps people feel as if they are part of one group, which is distinct from another.)  Although it is not commonly considered a source of power, leading conflict theorist Kenneth Boulding argued that integrative power is potentially the most potent form of power that there is--more so than exchange and force (which make up the other two "faces of power" in his book the Three Faces of Power.) As Boulding points out, even in war-torn societies, there are usually strong bonds between people on the same side.  Without such bonds, the group would disintegrate and continuation of the conflict through force would become impossible.   Hence, even force requires the integrative system to be effective, in some form, in order to operate.

Yet, conflict does put severe strains on the integrative system, and makes break it down to a considerable extent--especially between disputants, but sometimes within groups as well.  Typical problems that occur with the integrative system include the assumption that it is not powerful, hence that it cannot be used effectively to pursue or resolve a conflict.  Another common problem is unskilled and ineffective use of integrative power, while a third problem is the breakdown of integrative structures as a conflict escalates. 

Click here to read about typical problems relating to integrative power.

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