Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Urszula Strawinska-Zanko

Third Advisor

Ismael Muvingi


conflict, culture, refugee, relationality, spatial construal of time, temporality


The conflict process has numerous facets and characteristics, but one of the least discussed within conflict or peace studies literature is the effect that time has upon, or within the conflict continuum. This project’s focus was the identification of changes within certain temporally sensitive worldview schema by members of the Charlotte, North Carolina area refugee community when entering cultural conflict. This exploration specifically focused on the shifts that occur between moving from their transient locations prior to coming to the United States, whether that be a refugee camp or living in another country under refugee status, and their final relocation to Charlotte. The research was conducted using transcendental phenomenology supplemented with Relational Mapping.

The research was designed to answer the primary research question: “How do recently arrived (within two years) refugee individuals within the Charlotte, NC region experience cultural conflict within their enculturation experience?” as well as several secondary research questions. Individual interviews were conducted with ten members of the diverse refugee population in the Charlotte North Carolina region. With the specific strain of conflict being explored defined as cultural conflict, three key schemata were identified as experience focal points: Cultural Belonging, Refugee Transnationalism, and Expectations. Non-verbal signals termed spatial construals of time (SCTs) were utilized to identify chronological and experiential time orientations within their refugee experiences. From these findings suggestions are made towards the development or augmentation of existing conflict intervention modalities where refugees are involved to increase the chances for a successful transformation of the specific conflict.