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Must We Fight?: From The Battlefield to the Schoolyard - A New Perspective on Violent Conflict and Its Prevention

Paperback

$22.00

Must We Fight?: From The Battlefield to the Schoolyard - A New Perspective on Violent Conflict and Its Prevention

William L. Ury (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-787-96103-9 January 2002 Jossey-Bass 128 Pages

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Description

In this landmark book, William Ury-- best-selling author and director of the Project on Preventing War at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School-- and a stellar panel of experts from several scientific disciplines debunk the commonly held notion that violence is a predictable part of the human condition and outline an innovative paradigm for preventing violent confrontations. Must We Fight? presents compelling new research and insights into human nature which clearly demonstrate that humankind is not doomed to continue the seemingly endless cycle of violent conflict. With intelligence and sensitivity, Ury describes a brilliant program for personal and community empowerment called The Third Side. As he explains, in most conflicts between two parties there is actually a third entity-the community in which the combatants, and their dispute, are embedded. The Third Side is a proven model for ending conflict that shows how to mobilize communities to stop and, in some cases, prevent individual and group violence.
Ury, co-author of the bestselling Getting to Yes and a director at Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, observes that, in most cases, conflict between two parties involves a "third side"-"the community in which the combatants, and their dispute, are embedded." Whether the conflict takes place in inner-city Boston, between Hindus and Muslims in India or in apartheid South Mrica, Ury argues that the solution to "containing, resolving, and preventing" violence lies in activating this third group, whether it means involving independent witnesses, having "community talks" or mobilizing the media and the clergy. Two other writers from different fields contribute to the book's attempt to debunk the commonly held belief that violence and war are part of our primate and prehistoric heritage. Frans de Waal, a Jeading primatoJogist, argues that aggression in primates occurs in a social context and that mechanisms for cooperation are as natural as aggression. Brian Ferguson, an anthropologist of war, asserts that archeological evidence shows a history of limited flare-ups of carefully planned violence that benefit elites rather than a regular constant pattern of violent conflict. While the authors make a strong, persuasive case, arguing for more open societies and community involvement rather than increased policing, the format of the book is disappointing and will limit its audience to academe. The book consists of edited transcripts (including question-and-answer sessions) of two symposia held at Harvard in 1999 and 2000 and one "workbook" section in which readers are asked to put themselves in the place of an administrator faced with a simulated racial incident at a school. (Jan.) (Publishers Weekly)