Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution

Hardcover | July 4, 2013

bySara Cobb

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In the context of ongoing or historical violence, people tell stories about what happened, who did what to whom and why. Yet frequently, the speaking of violence reproduces the social fractures and delegitimizes, again, those that struggle against their own marginalization. This speaking ofviolence deepens conflict and all too often perpetuates cycles of violence. Alternatively, sometimes people do not speak of the violence and it is erased, buried with the bodies that bear it witness. This reduces the capacity of the public to address issues emerging in the aftermath of violence andrepression. This book takes the notion of "narrative" as foundational to conflict analysis and resolution. Distinct from conflict theories that rely on accounts of attitudes or perceptions in the heads of individuals, this narrative perspective presumes that meaning, structured and organized as narrativeprocesses, is the location for both analysis of conflict, as well as intervention.But meaning is political, in that not all stories can be told, or the way they are told delegitimizes and erases others. Thus, the critical narrative theory outlined in this book offers a normative approach to narrative assessment and intervention. It provides a way of evaluating narrative anddesigning "better-formed" stories: "better" in that they are generative of sustainable relations, creating legitimacy for all parties. In so doing, they function aesthetically and ethically to support the emergence of new histories and new futures. Indeed, critical narrative theory offers a new lensfor enabling people to speak of violence in ways that undermine the intractability of conflict

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In the context of ongoing or historical violence, people tell stories about what happened, who did what to whom and why. Yet frequently, the speaking of violence reproduces the social fractures and delegitimizes, again, those that struggle against their own marginalization. This speaking ofviolence deepens conflict and all too often pe...

Sara Cobb is Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. Blending her academic teaching and research on narrative processes with practice in the field as a facilitator, negotiator and mediator, Dr. Cobb is a leader in the field of conflict resolution. Her work is foundational to the evolution of the field ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:July 4, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019982620X

ISBN - 13:9780199826209

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Table of Contents

Mark Freeman: ForewordPart I: The Pragmatics of Narrative Processes in Conflict ProcessesIntroduction1. Speaking of Violence2. Conflict Narrative Structure and Relational Dynamics3. The Evolution of Conflict NarrativesPart II: Critical Narrative Theory: A Lens for the Analysis of Conflict4. Radicalized Narratives5. Power Dynamics of Conflict Narratives: Towards a Critical Narrative Theory6. Witnessing the Speaking Subject within Conflict Narrative RegimesPart III: Aesthetics as an Ethics of Conflict Resolution Practice7. Aesthetic Criteria for Humanizing Narratives8. Aesthetic Ethics as Narrative Practice9. Conflict Resolution as Narrative Practice: Emerging Better-formed Stories10. Narrative Poetics as a Foundation for Politics in Conflict Resolution