Chapter Four

Culture and Conflict

Sometimes we are blind to the impact of culture on the conflicts we are dealing with, and sometimes we are overwhelmed by it. Even though culture is the medium within which conflict plays out, to most of us it is as invisible as the air we breathe. As a result it is often easy for us to overlook the critical role cultural norms and practices play in creating conflict, affecting its course, and influencing the way we try to deal with it. Conversely, when we do focus on culture, it is easy to view it as the overarching determinant of what will occur. As conflict interveners, we often feel hopeless about altering the ways disputants from different cultures approach conflict. When we view a particularly destructive ...

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