You are here

Conflict Dialogue

Conflict Dialogue
Working With Layers of Meaning for Productive Relationships

July 2006 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"Professor Kellett's text is unique among undergraduate texts in its use of narrative theory to understand conflicts and to develop more effective strategies in family and relational conflicts.  The most impressive aspect of the text is the rich and compelling stories.  Students and practitioners will be able to relate to the stories and learn important conflict analysis techniques and communication skills through them."
—Angela Laird Brenton, University of Arkansas at Little Rock    

"The text is a wonderful study of the role of archetype in a conflict and the use of narrative.  I am impressed with the notion of projection. In a self-focused society we don't often think that the problem may lie within ourselves. The book teaches the skill of self-reflection and helps readers to become more other-centered. I am pleased to read the case studies as they provide fine classroom tools; they are engaging and diverse. Kellett has done much to incorporate narrative into the study of conflict and communication. Conflict Dialogue is a welcome addition to the body of conflict literature and centers communication within that body of literature."
—Christopher Lynch, Kean University  

Conflicts are more effectively managed if people understand the layers meaning in their conflicts and collaborate based on those meanings. In this book, author Peter M. Kellett analyzes and interprets real-life conflict stories as a way to create opportunities for more productive ways to navigate and resolve conflict.   

Key Features:

  • Examines real, lived experiences of conflict: Real-life conflict stories, from students themselves, illustrate how people actually manage conflict and allow readers to identify with experiences from their own lives. These stories represent the different participants in the conflict allowing readers to compare and contrast the meaning of the conflict from varied perspectives.
  • Addresses diversity in conflicts: Because conflicts are mediated by both personal and cultural issues of identity, case study narratives of diverse cultural relationships and conflicts are included throughout.
  • Blends theoretical depth with practical technique: This book uses an additive approach that builds theoretically grounded technique through four sections. Throughout each chapter, readers get both a sense of the depth and complexity of conflicts and an understanding how dialogic negotiation can be used to create more productive relationships.  

Intended Audience:
This is an ideal textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses such as Interpersonal Conflict, Conflict Analysis/Management, Dispute Resolution, and Negotiation in the fields of Communication, Sociology, Psychology, Human Resources, and Business & Management. It is also an excellent resource for scholars, researchers, and practitioners in the areas of conflict and dispute resolution.

Part I: Conflict Stories, Dialogue, and Negotiation: Concepts and Techniques
1: Stories and the Meaning of Conflicts
2: From Meaning---to Dialogic Negotiation---to New Meaning
3: Language as the Fabric of Conflict---and the Foundation for Dialogic Negotiation
Part II: Conflict Stories and the Negotiation of Relationship Dynamics
4: We Belong Together but We Still Have Conflict: Negotiating Synchronicity in Relationships
5: Where Do We Go From Here? Negotiating Through---and Learning From---Crossroads Moments in Relationships
Part III: Stories and the Psychodynamics of Conflict
6: What Is This Really About? Working With Displacement in Conflict Communication
7: What Do We Represent to Each Other? Understanding Projection and Negotiating Conflict
Part IV: Using Story Dynamics to Understand and Negotiate Conflict
8: Heroes and Sheroes, Villians, Victims, and Fools: Using Story Archetypes to Understand Conflicts
9: Learning to Tell the Next Chapter: Story Archetypes and the Negotiation and Mediation of New Meanings in Conflicts
10: Putting It All Together: From an Old Story---to a New Meaning---to a New Story
About the Author

"Overall, the book has interesting ideas for using a narrative approach to examining conflict stories" —CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOLOGY

Richard W. Ackley
Key features
  •  Use of real life conflict stories that illustrate how people actually handle conflicts and engages the reader with real, lived-experiences of conflict.  The stories are from students and therefore the reader will identify with the stories from their own life.  Empathy, identification with the stories and the people telling them, and engagement with the conflicts are stimulated.   
  • Use of conflict stories that represent the different participants in the conflict which allosws the reader to compare and contrast perspectives of the participants and see how the meaning of the conflict (what divides the participants) can be discovered from reading between the lines of the different perspectives   
  • Clear outline of the topics and learning goals for each chapter. Discussions of conflict stories can often be deeply personal to students in the class.  Students learn how the discussion connects to the specific goals of the chapter. Most conflict books do not give voice to such differences particularly well, and therefore students miss out on an key understanding of diversity and conflict.  Conflicts are both cultural and mediated by personal differences that impact the meaning and lived reality of conflicts.  This feature enables understanding of this fact.  
  • Blending of theoretical depth with practical technique for managing conflict. Readers gets both a sense of the depth and complexity of conflicts, and an understanding throughout each chapter that dialogic negotiation can be used to create desired management goals for a conflict.     
  • Additive approach that builds theoretically grounded technique. Rather than walk students through a survey of theories, this book builds through 4 sections from collecting and understanding conflict stories to understanding how to renegotiate conflicts based on collaborative techniques and a desire for shared meaning 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 7

Chapter 9

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.