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Conflict transformation is the process by which conflicts, such as ethnic conflict, are transformed into peaceful outcomes. It differs from conflict resolution and conflict management approaches in that it recognises "that contemporary conflicts require more than the reframing of positions and the identification of win-win outcomes. The very structure of parties and relationships may be embedded in a pattern of conflictual relationships that extend beyond the particular site of conflict. Conflict transformation is therefore a process of engaging with and transforming the relationships, interests, discourses and, if necessary, the very constitution of society that supports the continuation of violent conflict".[1]

Conflict transformation approaches differ from those of conflict management or conflict resolution. Whereas conflict transformation involves transforming the relationships that support violence, conflict management approaches seek to merely manage and contain conflict, and conflict resolution approaches seek to move conflict parties away from zero-sum positions towards positive outcomes, often with the help of external actors.[1]

According to Search for Common Ground, one of the oldest organizations devoted to implementing conflict transformation programs, conflict transformation initiatives are often characterized by long time horizons and interventions at multiple levels, aimed at changing perceptions and improving communications skills addressing the roots of conflict, including inequality and social injustice.[2]

Conflict transformation theory is often associated with the academics and practitioners Johan Galtung and John Paul Lederach.


  1. ^ a b Hugh Miall (2004) Conflict Transformation: A Multi-Dimensional Task, Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation, p. 4
  2. ^ SFCG (no date) Commonly Used Terms, Search for Common Ground

The full Berghof Handbook for Conflict Transformation is available online at: [ ]

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