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Speaking of ViolenceThe Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution$
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Sara Cobb

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199826209

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826209.001.0001

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The Evolution of Conflict Narratives

The Evolution of Conflict Narratives

(p.78) 3 The Evolution of Conflict Narratives
Speaking of Violence

Sara Cobb

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a theoretical framework for understanding the both conflict escalation as well as conflict transformation in terms of the evolution of conflict narratives. “Escalation” will be defined in terms of stages operant in the “pragmatics of legitimacy” where each stage provides a formula for the conflict narrative. “Transformation” will be defined in terms of both the evolution of the structure, as well as the relational dynamics of narrative, toward “elaborated reciprocal legitimacy.” Nonlinear processes, including turning points and critical moments will be defined, and integrated into the description of escalation and transformation. “Narrative liminality” will be defined as critical to the transformation of conflict narratives; the production of liminality, as a transformative practice, will be described using a case study of a community group, post genocide, in Rwanda, as well as a case study of a family business conflict.

Keywords:   hate narratives, dominant and counternarrative, destabilization, attractors, critical moments

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