Any academic discussion centered on a particular conflict is incomplete without first attempting to garner a better understanding of the genesis and subsequent alteration of the underlying factors that contribute to a dispute through an integrative approach. Such an approach has been termed as “Transformation Studies,” wherein an attempt is made to first study the experiences which lead to grievances and ultimately to disputes. In this approach the emergence and transformation of a dispute is analogous to studying a social process as it occurs.Only when a particular experience is perceived to be injurious, does one feel the need to attribute the cause of that injury to a particular entity. Such attribution is linked to an anticipation of relief, followed by a claim for remedy by the aggrieved.5 A rejection of that claim is considered by Felstiner as the catalyst which transforms the claim into a dispute.Such an approach recognizes that disputes depend significantly upon people’s feelings in connection to the experiences which lead up to and surround them, because such disputes are in the end a “subjective perception.”It is here that we look at the sources that shape this subjective perception. In recent history, conflicts have rested on the twin prongs of “identity” based on religion, culture, and language, and “distribution of economic, political, and social resources.”A combination of the two is understood to fuel what is referred to as a “deep-rooted conflict.”9 Such conflicts threaten one’s sense of self and are emotionally-driven,10 hence they are less amenable to rational negotiation and are complex and persistent.
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