Elicitive conflict work tries to go beyond the superficial transformation of conflict episodes and get to the epicenter of the conflict. For this it is necessary to make visible the underlying layers beneath the material and personal surface, which in conflict work and following Lederach (2003) can be described as the episode. For the exploration of these inner layers, we follow the seven-chakra Yoga-Philosophy, read as a single system of synchronic and corresponding elements reaching from the basic material needs of survival to the cosmic aspects of existence.

On the surface of the episode, there might be not much difference between a prescriptive and elicitive peace work. The biggest difference here lies in the perception of the conflict. While prescriptive approaches look for the solution to the problems in the episode itself, approaching a conflict in an elicitive manner requires inquiring about the layers behind the episode. This is the reason why at first elicitive work does not demand action or intervention, but analysis. Thus, after the primary theme has been identified, the elicitive conflict worker pays close attention to the layers that encircle the episode. The principle of correspondence points to the connection between the inner and outer layers and to the equal importance of both sets of layers on the episode.

Frequently, conflicts push the inner deeper layers towards the surface, where they are then expressed as a material clash of interests. Rarely, the conflict is solved in a rational and argumentative manner on the episode, since even after superficial successful events on the surface have been gained, the energy that nurtures the conflict in the epicenter will find a way to further create and invigorate new episodes through new themes, i.e. there would be a conflict transposition or translation. Thus, elicitive conflict transformation ought to observe the deeper layers. Even if placing one’s finger on a map is not the same as traveling to that point, the layers so described can provide orientation and clues as to how to deal with eventual blockages to the dynamic equilibrium of the system. This is, in a certain way, what we will do in this section, i.e. together with the three principles of ECM, we will point at the layers of conflict transformation:

See also suggested readings for layers

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