Communication Is Crucial To Social Conflict


Abstract: Social conflict involves public struggles over limited resources, the distribution of status, and the exercise of power (Coser 1956). Communication is crucial to social conflict because, through it, social conflict can escalate into violence, de-escalate into resolution and reconciliation, and can lead to clearer definitions of opposing positions (Gilboa 2006). Conflict is a ubiquitous form of social interaction that can have positive or negative consequences for the groups involved, can have implications for both social change and social stability, and can be understood as both a product of the social setting and a purely symbolic act that has no relationship to what are imagined as real conditions”.

The first half of the above abstract seems – to me at least – a straightforward and cogent definition. The second part touches on two aspects worthy of consideration. One is the unresolved or ambivalent consequences of social conflict. The other are the symptomatic aspects of social conflict, the causal nexus between conflict and perception. This takes us to Hume and how he divided relationships among ideas in two types: analytic and synthetic. The latter are temporal concurrences or conjunctions. Hence, Hume concluded that the idea that world events are linked to a causal chain is purely a projection of human psychology, which is, I add as if we were talking about the universe.

In War and Peace, Tolstoy states: “when an apple ripens and falls, why does it fall? Because of its attraction to the earth, because its stem withers, because it is dried by the sun because it grows heavier because the wind shakes it….?” The causal relationships are almost endless.

For many, social perception is linked to how Aristotle sees it, which basically states that men are the originators of its actions. Yet, Orwell said: “…to see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle“.

John Tooby, Psychologist, UC Santa Barbara, writes: “Locating the “cause” (blame) in one or more persons allows us to punitively motivate others to avoid causing outcomes we don’t like (or to incentivize outcomes we do like). More despicably, if something happens that many regard as a bad outcome, this gives us the opportunity to sift through the causal nexus for the one thread that colorably leads back to our rivals (where the blame obviously lies).

If one adds to this the deliberate viral spread of fake-news or the post-truth judgmental universe of the ignorant with powerful transmitters at their fingertips, what should humans be doing in order to preserve peace, progress, and basic freedoms? I see two juxtaposed possible remedies to widespread disenchantment and total social shutdown: improved discretionary but intentional social stability or increased enforced social control.

Oh well, I was just talking to myself…

Ragnar A. Brigg
Ragnar A. Brigg
RAGNAR is passionate about his pursuit of a better understanding of our “global village” in a range of topics. Despite his business, educational and personal life experience having given him much to draw from, he still aims at not being curtailed by “excess weight” in order to try maintain a fresh and balanced perspective on today’s rapidly changing world. He believes that everything that happens is convolutedly intertwined and that we all are, for better or for worse, at the very heart of it. Ragnar feels an urge to try discovering, unmasking, divulging or denouncing what and how he sees things. Often it’s about soul searching and storytelling; or about engaging himself in learning and critical analysis in order to expand his borders and sharing it, whenever possible. Ragnar has lived in several countries and held management positions in major entities. From his very early exposure to technology, his career moved to the re-/insurance and finance areas, where team building and general management skills were pivotal; later to entrepreneurial activities, both as consultant, international business-model researcher as well as trader and industrial project designer/developer. Ragnar is fluent in a number of languages and has a passion for others. He holds a B.Sc. from Florida Tech/F.I.T. and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He has recently reestablished himself with his wife in Norway. Besides some niche consulting jobs Ragnar is currently working on two book projects, both of which require much research in libraries in different countries.




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