This comprehensive analysis of all kinds of social and political conflicts reveals an important, but neglected truth: conflicts often are waged constructively. Constructive Conflicts: From Escalation to Resolution makes it clear how that can occur at each stage of a conflict's course from emergence, escalation, de-escalation, termination, and finally, to resolution. Kriesberg compares and synthesizes a wide variety of theoretical approaches, drawing from the social sciences, especially sociology, political science, anthropology, and social psychology, but also from the newer interdisciplinary fields of conflict resolution, peace studies, feminism, and security studies. Case studies and quantitative data about a wide variety of conflicts are used, including community and labor management conflicts, class and political revolutionary struggles, and gender-related struggles in small and large-scale settings. Kriesberg gives particular attention to major inter-state and inter-ethnic conflicts. These include the American Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s, the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and its transformation, and the tranformations of the Israeli-Arab conflicts. Drawing on past and current theory, research, and practice, Constructive Conflicts presents a systematic and coherent approach to understanding how a wide variety of struggles can be waged constructively in a new global context.
Louis Kriesberg is professor emeritus of sociology and Maxwell Professor Emeritus of Social Conflict Studies at Syracuse University.