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Conflict Resolution ?

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Conflict resolution ? Introduction to Restorative Circles with Dominic Barter Oakland, U.S 2009 For a long time, I was still working in the field that I was happy to call conflict resolution but I'm no longer happy with that phrase. I don't want to resolve conflict anymore. I want conflict to happen. I don't want to fight reality. Conflict as I understand it is part of living together, it's part of our social co-existence. I don't know if going up the mountain and getting into a cave will get you away from conflict but it's not my choice of how to live. So I'm interested in working out and understanding at a deeper level what actually happens when conflict occurs and how can I effectively engage with it. The noise that the people who are furthest away from the centre of power make, it's just a little bit too easy to call that violence or conflict and then to set out to resolve conflict. To go fix it. It's like restorative practices where there's a guideline that people don't swear. It seems perfectly innocuous until you realise that the marginalised language is the language that the marginalised people use. So suddenly, and it's not intentional, but it makes just as much difference whether it's intentional or not. Suddenly, a certain form of expression which is authentic to certain people has been prohibited, and without knowing it, you've disrupted the balance of power. It's a power relationship. I've never met anyone who is conscious of that when they say "No swearing in the circle". I don't think it's a conscious intention. It's the same when people say "I'm going to resolve conflict" and actually what happens is that they end up trying to diminish the noise with which people's dissatisfaction is being expressed and when that's diminished they say "My job is done" and the power relationships are left exactly the same. and what these people have learned is not only don't I have the resources that I need to live well, but my expression of my pain at the fact that I don't have the resources is not good. I need to learn to express my needs, or I need to learn to speak in a certain way, I need to learn to organise, or vote or whatever it is because the expressions of dissatisfaction that I have are not acceptable to the people who are already in power. A restorative circle is not designed to resolve conflict. It's designed for having conflict. It's a conflict space. So a student in a school in Sao Paolo said to me "What we need here in my school is a fight room" And all the teachers looked at me "Oh please, person who works with non-violence and peace, please correct the unfortunate misunderstanding of my student" and they were a bit horrified because I thought it was a great idea. A much more interesting name than restorative circle. A fight room. So I said that's what I do. I set up fight rooms. We recognise that it just keeps happening, that after a certain number of hours, the human beings in that school start to feel hunger because they have a need for nutrition. So rather than rebuilding a kitchen every time that happens, we build a kitchen and we leave it there. There's a dedicated space for meeting our need for nutrition. I keep on noticing that after a number of hours of activity, I feel tired and I need rest, so I create a space, every single home I've ever been to has a space where people lie down and rest. You don't need to keep making that up, you know it's going to happen. So why don't we create fight rooms? The need for justice keeps arising. So let's get wise. Let's create a space within our communities, within our homes, within our organisations, where we go to have our fights. Effectively. Not wasting our time punching each other and shouting at each other, but have good, juicy, meaningful, transformative fights where we learn something. But you'd never even begin to think that that might be interesting if you're frightened of conflict.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 41 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Genre: None
Views: 250
Posted by: restorativecircles on May 8, 2010

Dominic Barter talks about Restorative Circles

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