Culture, Justice, and Conflict

 

What constitutes a “conflict” can be a cultural question. Culture is an essential part of conflict. It runs deep and shapes our perceptions, judgements, attitudes, and ideas of self and others, and can also influence one’s framework to resolve, confront, discuss, or transform conflict. One cannot talk about justice without talking about culture (which includes all systems of oppression and colonization.) They are inextricably connected.

Culture does not cause conflict but rather influences it and shapes the individual's perception of what is a conflict and how he or she will respond. Culture is multi-layered and knowing certain cultural norms of groups does not predict behavior and response. Generalizations about culture are not the whole story.

 

Essentially, there is no replacement for building relationships, sharing experiences, and maintaining curiosity in order to authentically know others over time which in turn positively impacts how conflicts are handled.

One cannot assume they know the cultural norms of another person; we all must show up, be present, practice humility, and seek to understand in order to work through our differences in perspectives, experience, and values.

Conflict & Repair Dialogue

 

A facilitated Conflict & Repair Dialogue process works well with:

  • Families.

  • The workplace.

  • Communities (agencies, First Nations tribes, government, schools, etc.)

  • Couples.

 

Three to ten is the average number of sessions per referral.
Each session is 1 - 2 hours in length.

 

Conflict & Repair is a facilitated process used to address a specific conflict or patterns of conflict between two or more people that centers around restoring healthy relationships versus establishing right and wrong. Conflict & Repair Facilitation is a voluntary, collaborative form of communication and problem-solving. When this service is used (both proactively and as a response to conflict), silence, violence, and tensions are reduced. 

 

Conflict & Repair begins with the facilitator having one-on-one meetings with each party to hear their perspective and “side of the story.” After this, we determine if more one-on-ones are needed or if a joint session can take place. During the joint session, the facilitator remains neutral and objective, and works to maintain conditions for all voices to be heard, needs to be expressed, and durable agreements to be found. Strategies for repair are included in the plan for moving forward.

 

At times, work is done with an individual only, due to them or their family etc. recognizing that most interactions that individual has are conflictual in nature. Skills, tools, self awareness, and capacity are built so that individual may be able to interact with others with less conflict and tension.

 

Sessions provide tools and techniques in order to help transform conflict. Conflict & Repair works best when all participants are willing to speak honestly and seek to understand the perspectives of other participants. Conflict & Repair builds mutual understanding. Participants may: explore patterns of communication that stem from and result in fractured relationships, resolve long-standing differences, and learn to receive the concerns and feelings of others and empathize with their needs. 

 

A trained facilitator helps explore the source of conflict. The facilitator provides a framework, an objective lens on the process, and creates conditions for all voices to be heard in order to find common ground and a path forward.

 

What causes conflict/harm and fractured relationships? Each episode of conflict and harm is an opportunity to build understanding and delve into its epicenter (root cause.)

Conflicts, harm, and misunderstandings present the opportunity to ask, “How close do I want to be in my relationships? How will I share power or want it to be shared? What are my hopes and fears? What are the patterns present in my communication and interactions with others?” And, "how well do I show I am interested in understanding the perspectives of others?"