The field of conflict resolution has moved from “alternative dispute resolution” to
“conflict transformation” over the past twenty years that I have been in practice as a
mediator and facilitator of community conflicts. In the past two decades, I am both
heartened by the emerging creative approaches and language to describe our work and dismayed at the increasing emphasis on formality and professionalism. I fear that the trend toward formality and professionalism may one day mean the work of transforming conflict is done only by a small circle of highly trained professionals. When in fact, any hope of
reducing conflict in our communities relies on, no – demands, that the skills, tools and
approaches to transforming conflict be widely accessible and freely administered.
This research study highlights one example of how we might make our approaches
to address conflict in communities more readily accessible, understood and valued. It
focuses on rural community conflict through a case study in the US and the use of informal
social relational approaches to the conflict. The research engaged practitioners to reflect on
why we do or do not use approaches that are more informal. In this inquiry, I have used
food in its real and metaphoric form as a symbol for how to make a conflict intervention
process informal, relational, and thus accessible and sustainable.
In this research, I have juxtaposed the meaning of food, rural culture in the US and
conflict intervention techniques in a yet undocumented way. The research encourages
practitioners to drill deeper into the sub cultural context of a community conflict, highlights
the underlying gender issues relating to food-centered interventions and challenges
practitioners to design, employ and advocate for creative, relevant, caring approaches to
conflict interventions in rural communities.
Peace and Conflict Studies | Rural Sociology
Damon, Janet M., "The Power Of Pie: Food Centric Informal Social Relational Approaches For Transforming Rural Community Conflict" (2007). Capstone Collection. 38.