Jay Rothman: Applying Pre-Negotiation in Transforming Identity- Based Conflict, Part 4
Jay Rothman’s hypothesis is that a major reason political negotiations over identitybased conflicts fail is that there is inadequate attention given to the process of intragroup
pre-negotiation. Identity based conflicts, both within countries and transcending borders, present a fundamental challenge to a more peaceful world order. Identity-based conflicts require special handling because unlike goal or resource conflicts they are deeply-rooted in historical fears and frustrations to groups’ existential needs and values.
Too often such conflicts go from bad to worse when opponents in such conflicts prematurely meet and try to solve problems or negotiate solutions before sufficient intragroup agreement has occurred. Characteristic of many identity-based conflicts is that the deeply they run and longer they last, the more internal schisms within each side become part of Gordian knot of such conflict. Then as moderate groups within each side begin to lean toward one another, the hardliners within each side lean out and the likelihood of intergroup agreement further diminishes.
This session is devoted to exploring theory of identity-based conflict and practice for promoting intra-group pre-negotiation to launch and sustain effective political negotiations in intense conflict situations. Case studies will be drawn from Rothman’s experience as a third party including a post racial-riot pre-negotiation in Cincinnati, Ohio; intervention work at track one, two and three levels over the future of Jerusalem; and a current capacity building effort, within and between parties in a
European ethnic conflict (to be unnamed).