Has any serious work been done on non-violent resolutions to violent situations?

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Has any serious work been done on non-violent resolutions to violent situations?

  • E. Lee MacFall

    Usually when people talk about free market defense, they talk about how to sell defensive force as a commodity. And while I believe that defensive force is justified, I don’t believe it’s the best way to resolve disputes. Obviously the purpose of DROs would be to resolve disputes without escalating to force. But what about emergent scenarios where violence is already happening? Sure, you can go in with guns blazing, and as long as you only shoot the aggressors, NAP says you’re fine. But I’m interested in talking about ways in which violent situations can be deescalated, and threats neutralized without people getting shot. Does anyone know of any serious theory, or better yet, real-life experimentation with this?

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    • Zachary

      Excellent question.  As far as I can see (I’m looking in ProQuest right now), most of the serious work done on dispute resolution is in relatively controlled circumstances such as inter- and intra-company disputes.  A few notable hits:

       

       

      Blattman, C., Hartman, A. C., & Blair, R. A. (2014). How to Promote Order and Property Rights under Weak Rule of Law? An Experiment in Changing Dispute Resolution Behavior through Community Education. American Political Science Review, 108(1), 100-120.

      Abstract: Dispute resolution institutions facilitate agreements and preserve the peace whenever property rights are imperfect. In weak states, strengthening formal institutions can take decades, and so state and aid interventions also try to shape informal practices and norms governing disputes. Their goal is to improve bargaining and commitment, thus limiting disputes and violence. Mass education campaigns that promote alternative dispute resolution (ADR) are common examples of these interventions. We studied the short-term impacts of one such campaign in Liberia, where property disputes are endemic. Residents of 86 of 246 towns randomly received training in ADR practices and norms; this training reached 15% of adults. One year later, treated towns had higher resolution of land disputes and lower violence. Impacts spilled over to untrained residents. We also saw unintended consequences: more extrajudicial punishment and (weakly) more nonviolent disagreements. Results imply that mass education can change high-stakes behaviors, and improving informal bargaining and enforcement behavior can promote order in weak states.

       
      ANDERSON, B., SWANSON, L., & IMPERATI, S. (2014). Veils and Cloaks of Ignorance: Under-used Tools for Conflict Resolution. Ohio State Journal On Dispute Resolution, 30(1), 45-88.
      Abstract: In his influential work, A Theory of Justice, John Rawls (1971) introduced the notion of a “veil of ignorance” as a conceptual device for promoting just choices. On the premise that getting conflicting parties to think more fairly is a goodfirst step toward achieving agreement, we develop Rawls s notion into a set of mediator tools. Potentially biasing information can be excluded from consideration by means of thin veils, thick veils, or cloaks. A thin veil consists of instructions to disregard information that is known and already in consciousness. A thick veil makes it more difficult for information that is known but not in consciousness to be brought to consciousness. A cloak withholds information that is not yet known. Opportunities to apply cloaks and veils of ignorance arise in fact conflicts, value conflicts, and interest conflicts. To maximize effectiveness, preference should be given to cloaks over thick veils and to thick veils over thin veils. Finally, we explore the ethical considerations facing the mediator when using cloaks and veils.

       
      EIGEN, Z. J., & LITWIN, A. S. (2014). JUSTICE OR JUST BETWEEN US? EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE OF THE TRADE-OFF BETWEEN PROCEDURAL AND INTERACTIONAL JUSTICE IN WORKPLACE DISPUTE RESOLUTION. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 67(1), 171-201.
      Abstract: In this article, the authors examine the relationship between an employer’s implementation of a typical dispute resolution system (DRS) and organizational justice, perceived compliance with the law, and organizational commitment. They draw on unique data from a single, geographically expansive, U.S. firm with more than 100,000 employees in more than 1,000 locations. Holding all time- constant, location-level variables in place, they find that the introduction of a DRS is associated with elevated perceptions of interactional justice but diminished perceptions of procedural justice. They also find no discernible effect on organizational commitment, but a significant boost to perceived legal compliance by the company. The authors draw on these findings to offer a “differential- effects” model for conceptualizing the relationship among organizational justice, perceived legal compliance, and the implementation of dispute resolution mechanisms.

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      Ken Jons-un

      Here is a current lead, you might find worthy of following the people mentioned who are reporting a 73% success rate.

      http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/05/health/gupta-stopping-violence/

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