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

Fairness-Based Framing

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In fairness-based framing, the disputants define the conflict in terms of justice, fairness, and rights. This approach forces them to consider what is fair and how fairness or justice is determined, rather than simply defining "fair" in terms of "good for me."

Although definitions of justice vary widely, especially between different societies and cultural groups, most societies have some standard principles through which justice is measured. There is probably a constitution, a set of laws, or a less formal set of norms and traditions that govern how people are supposed to behave and how they are to be treated. If a group feels that it is being unjustly treated, it should first compare its treatment with its own societal standards. If there is a difference, defining the problem in terms of that difference can help clarify the issue for both parties–and can often lead to a remedy. (Such remedies do not occur quickly, but by framing issues in this way, problem solving becomes more possible than it might otherwise be.)

If the traditional standards also seem unjust (as they may well be in authoritarian or abusive governmental regimes), the group can look to international standards of human rights to develop a notion of what is widely considered "just" or "fair" outside their own country. They can then enlist the help of outsiders to pressure their own government to comply with international standards of fairness, justice, and human rights.


Links to Examples of Fairness-Based Framing

William Ury -- Overcoming Barriers to Principled Negotiation
Ury suggests asking people "how is that fair?" to get them to reframe the problem in terms of fairness.

Links to Related Solutions

Joint Reframing/Assisted Reframing

Dialogue Projects

Needs-Based Framing

"Yesable" Propositions


Links to Related Problems

Failing to Identify All of the Relevant Issues/Assuming that Everyone Else Defines the Problem the Same Way

Overly Competitive Approaches to a Conflict


Differing Definitions of "Justice"

"Into-the-Sea" Framing


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