Resolving conflict through emphasis on local issues
Description: Initially organizing poor peasants around concrete grievances which are felt daily and continuously rather than larger, less tangible issues; and devising means for peasants to discuss, dramatize and seek ways to rectify these grievances by initiating low-level conflict within the existing social establishment, then seeking sympathetic urban outsiders as allies, in order to widen the scope and scale of demands being made. If this results in more organized oppression by the established structures, then minor demands will be broadened into pressure for overall change. If the establishment reacts positively to conflict resolution approaches, escalation could be prevented.
Context: Conflict resolution strategies seek to dialogue with peasants to learn from them their grievances and to develop together strategies for resolving them. The intent of this "participatory action research" is for people to learn about their social situation and their own role in it through effecting change both in the situation and among themselves.
Implementation: Conflict resolution approaches to which the elite reacted positively have been successful in Japan and to some extent in Mexico.
Claim: Development efforts which take a thoroughly positive approach to working with poor peasants are often blocked by power relations among the peasants themselves and also between peasants and other social groups.
Counter Claim: Social change which seeks to affect existing power relations can result in violent conflict which hinders development, and can destroy fundamental cultural patterns.
Type Classification: D: Detailed strategies