Conflict Resolution
PubP&A 697A

Professor Janet Rifkin
Legal Studies Department
219 Hampshire House
545-5881
jrifkin@legal.umass.edu

 

11/27 - last class/last assignment - click here

11/20 update - Next week, November 27, we will be having a guest speaker, Colin Rule who is directing a fascinating project using online tools for mediation. He will lead us in a simulation of a regulatory negotiation (I think) that is to be conducted online. We will meet in the computer lab from 5:30-7:00. It is located in Machmer W13. I am waiting to hear whether he wants us to read anything ahead of time, so please check the Website for possible further information. For the following class, December 4, I hope you will have finished When Talk Works and will come to class prepared to present your favorite profile in that book. Be prepared to explain the basis of your choice. Everyone will be asked to present. Our final class is on December 11. We will hold a roundtable in that class and I will ask each of you to answer and discuss specific questions which I will distribute a week or two earlier.

11/7 update - Next class, Leah Wing, Director of the Campus Mediation and Negotiation Team, will be our guest speaker. She will speak on Race, Social Justice and Mediation Practices. I have given a handout for the reading assignment which is available in the Legal Studies office in 221 Hampshire House. There will be no writing assignment for next week.

10/16 update 2 - see assignment for next week (10/23) below, under 10/16.

10/16 update 1: Kirk Emerson has had to postpone her visit to campus. Instead, we will be discussing the Fisher book. POSTPONED TO SPRING 2001.

10/11 - There is an excellent speaker coming to campus on Monday, Oct. 16th at 12 p.m.

This Monday, The Center for Public Policy and Administration welcomes Kirk Emerson of the US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution for a talk, "Environmental Conflict Resolution: New Trends and Perspectives on the Field" -- it will be held Monday, October 16th at 12 p.m. in Room 620, Thompson Hall. For details, call the center at 545-3940. To think about for class on 10/16.

 

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Politics is about who gets what, when, why and how. Because of this, conflicts over public policy lie at the heart of modern governance processes. Over the past 200 years, Western democratic systems developed adversarial legal systems to represent the interests of individual citizens and institutional mechanisms for the representation of organized interests. The major problem with these systems is that they tend to be zero sum in their outcomes. As a consequence, public policy inevitably evolves in the caldron of local and central bureaucratic and legislative politics, where individual interests (if represented at all) normally take second place to the power of organized private and public interests. Increasingly, politicians and public policy makers are unable to satisfy all the demands placed upon them: most states in the world are facing fiscal crises and the worlds major problems (economic, social, environmental and political ) remain stuck and unresolved. It is clearly time to start thinking about ways and means of moving beyond adversarial power based politics to processes which are more collaborative, participatory, and aimed at solving problems rather than consolidating and enhancing political power. Through the lens of conflict analysis, conflict management, transformation and resolution, this course is aimed at diagnosing and developing creative ways of addressing and resolving public policy conflicts. It is aimed at the development of innovative collaborative processes to overcome impasse and move beyond adversarial and coercive politics. This course then has both analytical and practical intent.


 USEFUL LINKS

http://www.peacemakers.ca/links.html#standards

http://www.peacemakers.ca/bibliography/bibintro99.html

http://www.crenet.org/Research/highered.htm

http://www.umass.edu/dispute

A list of agency ADR contacts, aka Dispute Resolution Specialists under the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act, are available on the following two websites:

CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution
http://www.cpradr.org/

Interagency ADR Working Groups
http://www.financenet.gov/iadrwg.htm



COURSE REQUIREMENTS

The class will follow a seminar format. Students are expected to attend all classes, to read the assigned materials. To participate fully in discussions, role plays and other in class exercises and to complete all written requirements.

Assignment and Grading:
Five short essays will be assigned, several of which you will be asked to present in class in a series of roundtables we will hold. This written work will count for 80% of your grade. The other 20% will be based on your successful participation in class, in role-plays, simulations and other in class skill-building exercises.

ESSAY TOPICS

Topic One- Make a case for and against the idea that governance systems and policy disputes can be based on the collaborative and participatory models that Susskind and Cruikshank propose in Breaking the Impasse

Topic Two-. Indicate what you consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of the Fisher model outlined in Beyond Machiavelli, for analyzing political conflict and for devising more creative political processes.

Topic Three-Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of John Forester's argument that he develops in The Deliberative Practitioner.

Topic Four- Pick 1 practitioner interviewed in When Talk Works and discuss how they this person exemplifies or challenges the ideas that Forester develops in his book. Topic Five -Critically analyze the roles and responsibilities of facilitators, mediators, and other change agents in relation to current public policy conflicts. Whose side are they on? Whose interests do they serve? Are the current tools in the conflict resolvers toolbox, e.g. integrative bargaining, dispute systems analysis and design, collaborative decision making, etc. empowering or disempowering Do they facilitate change or enhance the status quo? Do they really help solve the problems facing nations and peoples at the beginning of the 21st century?

  

REQUIRED READINGS

All are available at the textbook annex.

 

COURSE SYLLABUS -this will change, probably fairly frequently. So, please keep informed of these changes.

9/11
-Introduction; Introduction to the course
-what are public policy conflicts?
-How are they distinguished from other kinds of conflicts?
-What is the difference between a disagreement, a dispute, a controversy and a conflict
-What are the particular problems of these disputes being public, multi-party, complex and high stake?

9/18- Breaking the Impasse, Susskind - essay #1, due in class, roundtable

9/25- Handout, Carpenter, Guest Speaker: Pete Westover (see announcement at top)

10/2- Guest speaker: Mary Ellen Shea, readings TBA (see announcement at top)

10/9 Columbus day-no Class

10/11- No Class

10/16 - Excellent speaker coming to campus on Mon. 10/16 at 12 p.m. See top of this page. POSTPONED TO SPRING 2001.
Beyond Machiavelli, Fisher, essay #2, due in class, roundtable

Next week we will have a guest speaker, Wendy Foxmyn, Director of the Franklin Mediation Center in Greenfield MA. She is an experienced mediator and trainer and has also worked in local government for a number of years. As background for her presentation, the reading for next week is Kolb, When Talk Works pp. 1-11, 245-279, 309-359.

10/23 - Culture, Identity and Dispute resolution, Handouts-Northrup "The dynamic of identity in personal and social conflict", Lederach, Conflict Transformation across Cultures? See 10/16 for assignment (above).

10/30 - The Deliberative Practitioner, Forester-115-249, role-play

The writing assignment for next week is to prepare a detailed outline of a lecture you would present to the class on The Deliberative Practitioner. This does not have to be in narrative form, but should be specific enough that, when I read it, I will understand what points you'd wish to convey in class and the basis of the argument you'd present. Be prepared to present one of your points to the class on Monday.

11/6 - more Forester- essay #3 (above), due in class; be prepared to present one of your points (see previous paragraph)

11/13 - Leah Wing, Director of the Campus Mediation and Negotiation Team, will be our guest speaker. She will speak on Race, Social Justice and Mediation Practices. I have given a handout for the reading assignment which is available in the Legal Studies office in 221 Hampshire House (it's called "Dealing with the Dilemmas Posted by Power Asymmetry in Intergroup Conflict"). There will be no writing assignment.

11/20- in class roleplay, details to be announced

11/27- we will be having a guest speaker, Colin Rule who is directing a fascinating project using online tools for mediation. He will lead us in a simulation of a regulatory negotiation (I think) that is to be conducted online. We will meet in the computer lab from 5:30-7:00. It is located in Machmer W13. I am waiting to hear whether he wants us to read anything ahead of time, so please check the Website for possible further information.

12/4- Next class, December 4, we will have a roundtable on the book, When Talk Works and everybody will present their favorite profile, explaining the basis of their choice.

12/11- We will hold a roundtable in that class and I will ask each of you to answer and discuss specific questions which I will distribute a week or two earlier.

 

updated November 27, 2000 by akl