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

Erosion of Traditional Conflict Management Institutions

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All societies have a variety of traditional ways of managing and resolving conflict. These may be informal or formal. Respected elders within a family, clan, religious group, or community may help the people in conflict solve the problem themselves, or may impose a solution which is seen to be legitimate because of the elder's wisdom and/or position. Alternatively, formal systems of courts and administrative decision making bodies may be established to hear and decide a variety of cases.

However, in the case of wars or other major social and political upheavals, the traditional dispute resolution mechanisms may not function effectively or be in existence at all. As the former Soviet states and Warsaw pact countries made the transition from communism to democracy, for example, they disbanded the old court systems and administrative dispute resolution mechanisms, and had to replace them with new institutions. This process has not been quick or easy, however, and in the interim, many disputes have gone unresolved.

Sometimes, traditional institutions remain in place, but they lose their legitimacy. People may stop using the traditional systems, or they may try them, but when they are displeased with the outcome, they may defy it, trying to impose a more desirable outcome by force.


Links to Examples of the Erosion of Traditional Conflict Management Institutions:

Joseph Nye, Jr. -- International Conflicts After the Cold War
Nye explores the nature and causes of global, regional, and communal conflicts after the Cold War and evaluates various approaches to conflict prevention. Breakdown of traditional conflict management institutions is one of the causes he cites for these conflicts at all levels.
Mohamed Sahnoun  -- Managing Conflicts in the Post-Cold War Era
Sahnoun explores issues surrounding military and humanitarian interventions in internal national conflicts. Like Nye, Sahnoun observes that the erosion of traditional conflict resolution strategies is one cause of these conflicts, and hence one target for intervention efforts.

Links to Outside Examples:

USIP - Special Report on Zaire
This report illustrates how traditional conflict management institutions, such as the judicial and criminal justice systems have broken down in Zaire.


Links to Possible Treatments of this Problem:

Re-establish/empower traditional or new conflict-management institutions

Dispute System Design


Links to Related Problems:

Integrative System Does Not Exist or Is Very Weak

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