Conflict transformation

John Paul Lederach. Transformació de conflictes: petit manual d'ús. Barcelona: Institut Català Internacional per la Pau; Icària, 2010.

John Paul Lederach condenses much of his thought into this book, and explains why it is often more useful to transform conflicts by means of a constructive change rather than solving them in the short term. This conceptual framework is a milestone in the way we consider the construction of peace, and is therefore worth studying. From this perspective, conflict is inevitable and this is something that is very positive, because it gives us the opportunity to change. And to create a better situation than the one that previously existed.

According to Lederach's advice, we should become accustomed to considering today's problems as a window, and therefore looking to see what is on the other side, especially in the long term. The author is not naive, and is well aware that the world in which we live is highly complex. However, his approach consists of taking advantage of the benefits of these complexities, and the existence of the many choices that this implies, which are not necessarily mutually incompatible, while respecting everyone's feelings of identity. Although all this may seem a very dense subject matter, this is no longer the case in the final chapter, in which the author applies his theory to a real case, a controversy based on the role of the police in Colorado, the North American state where Lederach lives.

To find out which option to choose, the author asks us to consider the context carefully, and to ask ourselves a number of questions and to rethink a number of issues. This is the only way in which we will be able to use the transforming potential of conflict at all levels, ranging from those linked to the individual to the future of historic change, in which according to Lederach, patterns of violence and coercion will be replaced by social capacity for dialogue and non-violent systems guaranteeing human security and social change.