ABC Triangle -

Rizal Panggabean
*ABC Triangle, or the triangle of conflict, is one of the most
popular and useful way to investigate and to illustrate the
complexities of conflict.
*First developed by Johan Galtung, based on his research on
the definitions of conflict, the triangle summarizes the
elements or dimensions of conflict.
*ABC Triangle provides a useful framework to analyze the
stakeholders/actors in a conflict situation, by going deeper
into three important aspects of conflict dynamics: context,
attitudes, and behavior.
* C: Context and Contradiction
* Refers to the incompatibility of goals (needs, interests) between parties to the
* Possible sources of incompatibility is different from conflict to conflict.
* Social structure vs. social values (caste system; patriarchy; rich-poor; ethnicity;
* Scarcity (of oil, water, elected offices)
* Competition (for market share; in election; for power)
* Migration (rural to urban; north African countries to Europe)
* Change (social; political; economic; globalization; climate)
* Sources of incompatibility may overlap, creating more tension and increasing
the stakes.
* Questions:
* What contradiction precedes the conflict you are dealing with?
* How is the contradiction built into the society?
* What are the contentious issues emerged from the incompatibility?
* How development programs build incompatibility into the society?
* Refers to parties’ perception and other psychological conditions experienced
by the parties in a conflict situation. Attitudes include cognitive aspects such
as misperception, enemy construction, negative stereotypes, and feelings
such as anger, hate, suspicion,
* Possible sources of conflict attitudes:
* Aggressive drives
* Intra-personel tensions
* Aggregate frustrations
* Dehumanization
* Parties to a conflict develop different feelings, emotions, perceptions (and
misperception) toward the other.
* Questions:
* What negative feelings and emotions developed among parties to the
conflict you are dealing with?
* How do these maintained and sustained and through what processes?
* Do certain programs and policies created negative attitudes among the
parties or beneficiaries?
*Refers to the polarizing – and sometimes destructive – activities
or actual behavior of the parties in a conflict.
throwing, burning, killing, intimidating, shooting,
demonstration, war, &c.&c.
* What conflict behaviors are used in a conflict situation you are dealing
* What strategy and tactics are used?
* What weapons are used in the conflict?
* What conflict behaviors emerged due to
and assistance in a community?
certain development programs
* Conflict can be negative/destructive in its process
and outcome; it can be positive/constructive. Conflict
does not equal violence
* Possible benefits of conflict:
* It create or foster social change
* Transform latent conflict into manifest conflict amenable
for resolution and transformation
* Focus energy and policy to important problems in the
society and then to problem-solving
* The key is whether there is conflict
management/transformation and if yes whether it is
good or poor and whether it lead to violence or
Humanitarian pause
Cessation of hostilities
Skills in nonviolence
Positive social contacts
Deal with
Deal with
Deal with
Majority rule
Minority rights
Economic reform/conversion
Security sector reform
Building a culture of peace
Creating a peace constituency
Acceptance and recognition
Moderating public discourse

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