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Social Conflict (McGraw-Hill Series in Social Psychology) Paperback – 1 Aug 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education; 3 edition (1 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0072855355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072855357
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.5 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,277,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very well written. Complete but not overwhelming overview of literature on conflict.
Standard work, reffered to by most conflict science articles.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
recommended CR reading 5 Dec 2003
By kmp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a very comprehensive survey of conflict resolution theory. The bulk of the work focuses on conflict escalation and stalemate, leaving a noticeably smaller section on settlement at the very end. The information is readily applicable to analysis of community and international disputes. Thorough citation and summaries offer a rich resource for further reading.
I read this for an introductory, graduate-level class on Conflict Resolution Theory. I think this book would also be useful for students of international relations, industrial psychology, political science, sociology, and business management. John Paul Lederach's excellent book, Building Peace, would be useful to those wanting to know more about post-conflict settlement.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
No need to argue... 24 Feb 2011
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The book `Social Conflict: Escalation, Stalemate, and Settlement', by Dean G. Pruitt and Sun Hee Kim, is a text I used in a graduate course on conflict resolution. At the beginning of the text, the authors state, `Implicit in our definition of conflict is the deliberate exclusion of differences of opinion concerning facts and arguments over interpretation of objective reality.'

They state prior to the quote at hand that they define conflict as the `_perceived divergence of interest_, a belief that the parties' current aspirations are incompatible.' (emphasis theirs) The problem here is that this probably will involve differences of interpretation, and this is because they use the idea of perceived rather than true divergence of interest (which they explain in the footnote on page 8 sets them apart from many other social scientists in this field). Perhaps what is really meant here is that they mean to exclude mere differences of opinion, upon which there is nothing at stake. One might think here of theological discussions about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin (the quintessential non-important question of medieval theology which was in fact never really asked and debated). Or perhaps one might think here of conflicting views of what might have been the case had the elder President Bush not won the 1988 election, or had he won the 1992 election - perhaps of interest to some, but being hypothetical and having no real goods at stake in the outcome (since we don't have time machines to go back to change things) there's perhaps little applicability to discussing such moot issues.

When I was studying the Supreme Court, one professor of mine made quite the point about how they do not decide moot points. Each case is presented and decided upon on its own merits. For the entire Constitutional Law class, the key point that the professor tried to make, in every lecture and assignment, was to stick to the case and the particular precedents and not go off on political or philosophical flights of fancy.

We live in a world of nuance, in politics, in personal relationships, and in our conflicts. As George Will once stated, `The truth is that, as a carpenter once said to William James, "There is very little difference between one man and another; but what little there is, is very important".' Sometimes from the outside looking in, it is hard to see what the issue is. Irving Janis, in his book `Groupthink', describes several scenarios where sometimes just the slightest change could have had the most dramatic consequences for change - matters of interpretation in the Bay of Pigs, the run-up to Pearl Harbor, or the escalations into North Korea and Vietnam showed where opinion did matter - not always the opinion between the classic confrontation actors, but rather within the decision-making groups on each side.

Pruitt and Kim set out ideas that fit conflicts from fathers and sons over who gets the car keys to international actors on a global conflict scale. Their definition of what conflict is sets up the theoretical framework, for which they trace the history of conflict resolution as a field before jumping in to discuss their particular models.

In chapter three, Pruitt and Kim describe the Dual Concern model as one where there are two types of concerns, about one's own outcome and about the other's outcomes. These can range from indifference to high concern (Pruitt and Kim concede in a footnote that in fact there may be conflicts where there is a negative outcome expectation as well; total war with an unconditional surrender goal might qualify on that score). The dual concern model presents four primary choices in graphical representation, including contending and avoiding as strategies when concern for the other's outcomes are low, and yielding or problem-solving when it is high. Problem-solving is presented as the choice when there is high concern for both outcomes. Pruitt and Kim contend that this does not necessarily relate to motivations -one can be selfish and cooperative at the same time (perhaps the old expression, `Go along to get along' could fit this idea). One of the applications for this in international conflict could be the recognition that the leaders of most nations and groups in conflict are in one way or another representative of and accountable to the people upon whose behalf they contend. Hence, withdrawing and yielding are rare, unless there is indifference about the outcome. Pruitt and Kim cite Druckman's study that `negotiators who are representatives tend to be more reluctant to yield than are individuals negotiating on their own behalf'.

Pruitt and Kim also discuss tactics toward conflict de-escalation and resolution that can be contentious, rather than helpful toward a solution. However, the authors hold up nonviolent resistance as a set of tactics that are sometimes coercive (boycotts, strikes, etc., but this is not necessarily a bad thing) but not necessarily more effective than some other more coercive forms of conflict. The authors also explore the Structural Change model, what happens when third parties intervene, and escalation/de-escalation issues. A useful text for those going into diplomacy, job situations, and family settings - there's something here that can relate to conflict that arises in almost anyone's life.
Nice book but repeats a lot 13 Nov 2012
By Anton J. Attard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Studying conflict resolution can be a challenge but very fulfilling. I believe this book is great in certain aspects, uses real life situations to understand the idea better but repeats a lot throughout the book. I also found this book a heavy read, compared to my contemporary conflict resolution book and other books. Its still a good book
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
About this text book i bought from Amazon 26 Jun 2013
By joseph ngongang - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i am quite satisfied with the condition of the book. it meets my expectation. i would recommend this site to all who want to buy text books.

Joseph
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very Academic 30 Nov 2012
By JK - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For phds... That's when I had to use this book... in my doctoral studies... Honestly I only read what it took to pass my course... This certainly is not bedtime reading so be loaded on coffee to conceptualize... Not saying it's tough to read, it's just DRY! I guess however, it served the purpose well so I give it 4 stars.
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