257: Peter T. Coleman | Social Psychologist Navigating Conflict Resolution Dynamics Toward Sustainable Peace

Social psychologist and Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University Dr. Peter T. Coleman joins on episode 257 of the show, bringing forth his expertise on conflicts and their peaceful and productive resolution. He has been the director of Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution for over 20 years, and is author of the 2004 book Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement, as well as upcoming 2021 book The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization.

Similar to Dr. Raza of episode 249, Professor Coleman works at Columbia University in New York, and we spoke about the impacts of the pandemic in the region, as well as potential outcomes that manage future conflict related to it. He had written a message about the situation in this Politico article, and we explored that and more. Through his experience with many levels of conflict management and understanding, whether of the base form, or of a governmental size, Dr. Coleman is able to get to the meaning behind what people could be opposing each other for.

Show notes:

  • Dr. Coleman and his experience with conflict management and resolution
  • how he got into his current position, and what he does as director of the Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution
  • how conflicts are different at different levels of society and age
  • what it takes to resolve issues for people of a younger age group, such as in their 20s, and how that differs from managing the interests of older folks
  • an example of tensions or conflict from a time period at Columbia University
  • how it is relevant to allow all parties to voice their concerns in a conflict, so as to resolve it in some form for all
  • many examples of where Dr. Coleman has been brought in to assist
  • how value differences can be the source of much conflict
  • a relation between conflict management, and neurological frameworks of decision-making and energy conservation
  • how the long-term conflicts we have seen in the world are much more detailed and nuanced than Team 1 versus Team 2
  • a small example of conflict I bring up from the basketball courts
  • instrumental violence versus expressive violence
  • how the pandemic has led to some types of conflict in terms of how it is perceived, due to polarization
  • the way that times of global struggle can bring groups together which would not have prior, due to the previous battle not making sense in the time of heightened danger/risk
  • the quote “never let a good crisis go to waste”, which I heavily identify with
  • Dr. Coleman’s progression through his writing and books
  • the way that certain conflicts have elements which keep them in place, and what it takes to look at removing the holds on their clearance
  • a message about how to view conflicts

I was glad to have Professor Coleman on the show. He represents well for Columbia Unviersity, and has messages and experience to help people manage their differences better. You can check out his faculty page, Wikipedia, and his listing of books on Amazon.