From its inception, the field of conflict resolution has appealed strongly to practitioners, researchers, and theorists interested in social betterment. Most conflict resolvers would probably agree that their efforts are motivated, at least in part, by the conception of a Good (or at least a Better) Society considerably less violent and contentious, more peaceful and cooperative, than the existing social order. Many would also affirm that in order to reach this goal, the sources of violence and contention, which include cultural norms sanctioning or glorifying violence, invidious and discriminatory "isms" (racism, sexism, etc.), gross socioeconomic and political inequities, and over-reliance on formal, adversarial decision-making procedures need to be eliminated or, at least, mitigated. And many would assert, in addition, that the methods of making these changes should be consistent, so far as possible, with the aims sought to be achieved: that is, they should rely on nonviolent conflict resolution.2

Author Bio(s)

Richard E. Rubenstein is Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the George Mason University.

Frank O. Blechman is Coordinator of the M.S. Degree Program of Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and teaches clinical skills courses.


conflict resolution, Distributive Justice, Jim Laue, John Burton, social justice, U.S. Institute of Peace

Publication Date






To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.