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Contribution to Book
Natural Born Peacemakers? Gender And The Resolution Of Conflict
The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice (2013)
  • Mara Olekalns, Melbourne Business School
Abstract
Two males sit apart, staring at each other from the corners of their eyes. A female approaches one and takes him by the arm, pulls him towards the other male. She alternates between the two and eventually brokers peace. In a different scenario, two males are again in conflict. A third male inserts himself between them, screaming at them or physically separating them to prevent the conflict from escalating. He keeps them separate and harangues them into submission (De Waal, 2009). Female as peacemaker, male as peacekeeper. These examples fit with our intuitions about how gender might shape the way that conflicts are resolved. Women, with their stronger emphasis on preserving social harmony, choose less confrontational strategies than men. Men, with their stronger emphasis on autonomy and status, choose more assertive strategies than women. What is intriguing about the opening examples is that they describe the resolution of social conflicts by chimpanzees. In this chapter, I explore whether the gender differences that Franz de Waal observes in his chimpanzee colonies are paralleled in our human world. Is there evidence that women and men approach conflicts differently, and with what consequences.
Keywords
  • gender,
  • conflict,
  • negotiation
Publication Date
2013
Editor
.Coleman, M. Deutsch, E. Marcus, & J. Dillard
Publisher
Jossey-Bass
Citation Information
Mara Olekalns. "Natural Born Peacemakers? Gender And The Resolution Of Conflict" 3rdThe Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice (2013)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mara_olekalns/30/