Conflict Theory, Complexity and Systems Approach

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by Giorgio Gallo


Since the end of the Cold War we are witnessing the emergence of new types of conflicts. Conflicts appear to be more and more complex, and still too often they are approached in a simplistic way, using a linear type of reasoning. Complexity is disregarded, and the need for systemic thinking is underestimated, not rarely leading to disastrous results. Feedback are most often ignored, but, most important, the complex dynamics which make a conflict to change over time, following paths difficult to predict, are rarely taken into account. A shift from a pre-complexity mindset to a complexity one is necessary. In the paper, also by means of concrete examples, we will try to show how a Systems Thinking approach is essential to analyse today’s conflict, to prevent them and to act so to make them to develop along non violent constructive paths rather than along violent destructive ones.

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