One of the most important first steps in the approximation to a conflict is to determine, identify or recognize the primary theme of the conflict episode. Elicitive conflict workers might have an implicit or an explicit mandate that touches or is built upon a conflict narrative. This narrative can be the representation of the parties to the conflict that are seeking help themselves or through institutions, which might have been involved as third parties previously. 

Episode and Epicenter


“An episode of conflict is the visible expression of conflict rising within the relationship or system, usually within a distinct time frame. It generates attention and energy around a particular set of issues that need response. The epicenter of conflict is the web of relational patterns, often providing a history of lived episodes, from which new episodes and issues emerge. If the episode releases conflict energy in the relationship, the epicenter is where the energy is produced.” (Lederach 2003, 31)

As Lederach suggests, the storyline of the conflict has a primary theme, a central topic that dominates the narrative, a conglomerate of issues towards which the energy is being pulled. We have named the four main topics as Harmony, Justice, Security and Truth, which at the same time speak to different variations of peace, the so-called Peace Families. Around these four topics, one can analyze the best point of entry into the conflictive system.

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