Managing Protracted and Deep Rooted Conflicts in the U.S. Senate




Cocozza, Richard A.

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School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution


This working paper discusses actions by the U. S. Congress (primarily the U. S. Senate) to manage protracted and deep rooted conflicts in the process of making laws – current problems in managing conflicts, the traditional system for managing conflicts, the relevance of a contemporary conflict analysis and resolution approach to conflict management in the Congress, the effectiveness of the Senate in addressing conflict in five case studies, and strategies for strengthening the current approach. The paper is based largely on my work (1990-1998) as head of a nonpartisan organization that facilitated communication and problem solving on environmental and natural resources issues for 30 western U. S. Senators. During this timeframe I had the opportunity to work closely with the Senate, participating in deliberations on many intractable conflicts. This gave me an opportunity to engage in repeated discussions of the management of conflict with parties who were involved. I am grateful to my colleague, Dr. Dean Pruitt, for his invaluable advice and guidance on the organization and substance of this working paper.



U.S. Congress