Coleman, P. T. (2003). Characteristics of protracted, intractable conflict: Towards the development of a meta-framework – I. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 9(1), 1-37. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Protracted, intractable conflicts mark a new research frontier in the field of conflict studies. These intense, inescapable conflicts over issues such as critical resources, identity, meaning, justice, and power are complex, traumatic, and often resist even the most serious attempts at resolution. But why are they intractable? What characteristics distinguish intractable conflicts from more tractable, resolvable conflicts? Scholars have begun to identify a diverse array of interrelated factors. This article is the first in a three-part series that presents a metaframework for protracted, intractable conflict: a broad conceptual framework for theory building and intervention. This article begins the series by outlining the unique characteristics and challenges posed by conflict in this domain.