Researchers have recently leveled criticism at the realist approach to conflict resolution by pointing out the importance of symbolic aspects of this issue. Few studies, however, have hitherto focused on symbolic demands in conflicts. The present study examines the role of symbolic as well as concrete demands in conflict resolution, and is therefore innovative in this regard. A demand is categorized as “concrete” if it is based on an interest that is viable and applicable, in that it involves tangible resources that may change hands or be divided. A “symbolic” demand, on the other hand, pivots on either refraining from or taking action rather than on a tangible result. With reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this research suggests that the relationship between symbolic and concrete demands can serve as a tool for achieving conflict resolution – not only by compensating for symbolic demands with concrete demands and vice versa but also by balancing between the symbolic and the concrete aspects within the same demand. These findings may have valuable implications for the use of symbolic discourse as an instrument to transform conflicts.
Nagar, Rotem and Shamir, Jacob
"Symbolic and Concrete Demands in Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,"
Peace and Conflict Studies: Vol. 20
, Article 5.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/pcs/vol20/iss2/5