The conflict research is a sociological sub-discipline of political sociology . It is used, among other things, in psychology and theology . The subject of research is interpersonal and intergroup conflicts . In order to describe, analyze and evaluate conflicts, conflict research uses scientific methods, among other things, on fundamental terms from political theory and the history of ideas ; for example, the terms interest , freedom , power , justice and violence .
Conflict research deals with the sociological and psychological characterization of intergroup conflicts, with the causes ( necessary and sufficient factors), with the course, with preventive prevention, with the solution and the costs of conflicts . Research results show that for the emergence and shape of a conflict it is crucial whether the conflict of interests on which the conflict is based concerns different means for a specific purpose, whether it concerns different goals , or even different values and basic convictions. Accordingly, we distinguish resource conflicts , trade-offs and value conflicts . Behind many conflicts there is a hidden conflict of values, that is, a different view of “good” and “bad”. Value conflicts can take on very severe forms and are also more difficult to resolve.
The goal of conflict management is an effective and lasting solution. The first step is de-escalation (e.g. cessation of combat operations, reduction of open aggression). The second step is to initiate communication between the conflicting parties. In the third step, the actual conflict of interests is worked out and a mutual understanding of the conflicting parties for the interests of the other is developed. To do this, it is necessary to understand and respect the underlying values. Only then can a conflict solution be jointly developed through mediation . The mediator must keep the same distance from both conflict parties in order to be trustworthy for both sides.
The peace and conflict studies , however, focuses on conflicts between states or ethnic groups, organizations, interest groups and individuals. In German-speaking countries, peace researchers have joined forces in the Working Group for Peace and Conflict Research since 1968 .