Intractable Conflict: Benefits & Theory

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Intractable conflict is a conflict that cannot find resolution through any means. So how can there be benefits to that? This lesson will discuss the theory of intractable conflict and the good that can come of it.

Intractable Conflict

Intractable conflicts are immense disagreements that have had a long history, an inability to resolve issues over time, high stakes, and can result in violence, either physical or emotional. Conflicts like this are based in people's identities, which makes their resolution such a challenge. One current example of such a conflict is the fight for the rights of homosexual people. One side believes that homosexuality is wrong based on morality or religion, and the other side believes that homosexuality is a product of nature (just like heterosexuality). This argument has been going on for decades, and the resolution still has not happened because both sides feel they are completely right. Due to the resulting self-righteousness, the fight escalates, sometimes turning into protests and parades, but also sometimes turning into violence.

So how can this kind of conflict actually have benefits?

Benefits of Intractable Conflict

Although intractable conflict has obvious negative connotations (such as violence, hurt feelings, and an inability to move forward) there are also benefits, even in the largest and most severe conflicts. The first is in the common saying: ''The enemy of my enemy is my friend.'' When an intractable conflict is at its height, both sides will look for allies, creating connections and friendships that last for lifetimes. Intractable conflict also:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support