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 International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2007)

Intractable Conflict as a Dynamical System

Larry Liebovitch
Center for Complex Systems, Florida Atlantic University

Robin Vallacher
Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University

Andrzej Nowak
Center for Complex Systems Research, University of Warsaw

Lan Bui-Wrzosinska
International Center for the Study of Complexity and Conflict, Warsaw School of Social Psychology

Andrea Bartoli
Center for International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University

Peter Coleman
International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, Teachers College, Columbia University

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     Last modified: September 18, 2007

We show how mathematical methods from complex systems can be used both as metaphors and mathematical equations to understand the nature of conflicts between individuals, groups, and nations and present novel methods for their resolution. The metaphorical approaches have been successful used as training materials for practical applications in conflict management. The mathematical model allows us to test the effects of specific social mechanisms in a conflict. In the model, the state of each group depends on its own state in isolation, its previous state in time, its inertia to change, and the influence from the other group. Each group can influence the other group either through positive or negative feedback. We show how the positive or negative feedback between the groups leads to different dynamics and steady states.

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