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

Integrative System Does Not Exist or Is Very Weak

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All societies and groups are held together, at least to some extent, by social bonds. These bonds relate to people's identities--their roles--in the group, community, and society. In a strongly integrated society, most people have a multitude of identities and roles. One person might be a husband, father, truck driver, Roman Catholic, tennis player, who loves gardening and classical music.  Another might be a wife, mother, teacher, Moslem, social activist, who loves reading and studying foreign languages. Both of these people have links to other people who live with them, work with them, or share their interests. The more links between people, and the more active people are in different social, political, and economic organizations, the more strongly they are tied to their social system and the more strongly the social system is held together.

When societies are wracked by conflict or war, many of these identities and roles get abandoned or submerged. People emphasize or focus on their primary group identity, abandoning any links with people from the other side with whom they might have shared experiences before the conflict began. In the Balkans, for example, one's identity as a Muslim, Croat, or Serb became far more important than one's identity as a parent, a teacher, a truck driver, or a scholar. People who worked side-by-side in Yugoslavia routinely killed each other over these national identities, with no regard for the former ties that had held them together, and had given them common bonds. In severely war-torn societies, the only aspect of the integrative system that remains is the system that operates within each side--bonding the factions together, but in opposition to the other(s). Any remnants of an integrative system between groups can be lost, making peacebuilding efforts very difficult, but at the same time terribly important if long-term, stable peace is to be obtained.


Examples of Situations in which the Integrative System has Broken Down:

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. Lack of a strong integrative system is both a cause and a consequence of these conflicts.
Mohamed Sahnoun -- Managing Conflicts in the Post-Cold War Era
Sahnoun explores issues surrounding military and humanitarian interventions in civil and ethnic conflicts. Like Nye, Sahnoun observes that lack of a strong integrative system contributes to the escalation of these conflicts.


Links to Possible Treatments for this Problem:



Joint Projects

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


Links to Related Problems:

Erosion of traditional conflict management institutions

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