The Benign Subjugation of Conflict Resolution
By: Derek Sweetman May 1, 2010
The subject of the study of conflict is conflict, but the subject constituted through the discourse of conflict resolution is something much different. Michel Foucault provides a model for the investigation of the subject within professional-academic discourses through his investigations of mental health,[i] medicine,[ii] and criminology,[iii] but his analyses focus on dominant discourses within society. These subjects are practically universal within the societies considered. What, then, are we to do when faced with a professional-academic discourse like conflict resolution, one that is most definitely not dominant? Within the domestic area, the dominant subject relating to conflict is determined by legal discourse. In the international arena, it is bounded by power politics and realism. Luckily, Judith Butler’s analysis of the subject created by feminism in Gender Trouble[iv] is a good guide. Like conflict resolution, feminism is a subaltern discourse, one that specifically defines itself in opposition to dominant ones. Additionally, feminism, like conflict resolution, is a regulative discourse, one aimed at controlling human behavior.