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Midterm Conflict Analysis Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop your ability to analyze conflict from different theoretical perspectives. In class we have compared two major perspectives on conflict: the cognitive perspective and the interactional perspective. Each of these perspectives include different theories that help analyze conflict. These theories help us to understand how conflict develops and to explain the choices people make when they communicate in conflict situations. This assignment asks you to draw on your understanding of two different theories and demonstrate that you can use these theories to gain insight into a conflict you have observed. The Task Think of an interpersonal conflict that you have been involved or you have seen firsthand. It could be a conflict in a family, work, friendship or community setting. Choose the conflict based on two criteria: a) you know a considerable amount about how the conflict unfolded and b) you are interested in analyzing the conflict in more detail. Choose ONE of the cognitive theories and ONE of the interactional theories and analyze the conflict using the two theories. Cognitive Theories: Verbal aggressiveness Psychodynamic Theory Attribution Theory Arousal/Deficit Theory Interactional Theories: Coordinated Management of Meaning Confrontation Episodes Theory Reciprocity Theory Your paper should: Give a short (about 1 page) overview of the conflict itself. Without giving the actual names of the disputing parties, provide a general description of who is involved and what the conflict is about. (Note: You do not have to give a great deal of detail in the overview because you will be giving additional information about the conflict as you do your theoretical analysis. Just provide enough background to establish a basis for understanding your application of the two theories you have chosen.) Apply one Cognitive Theory to your conflict (1-2 pages). How does the theory help to explain what happened? What insights does it provide about why people acted/communicated the way they did in the conflict? How does it help explain the outcomes of the conflict? Be sure to use the theory in detail, drawing from the specific insights the theory offers. Apply one Interactional Theory to the same conflict (1-2 pages). How does this theory help to explain how the conflict unfolded? What insights does it offer about why people acted and communicated the way they did in the conflict? How does it help to explain the outcomes of the conflict? Again, be sure to draw from specific details and points in the theory. Conclude with a brief comparison of the insights that the contrasting theories offered (1 page). Which was most useful? Why? Explain why one theory from a cognitive perspective and one from an interactional perspective. Evaluation Criteria The paper is worth a total of 50 points and is evaluated according to the following criteria: Understanding of the Theories: How well do you understand the theories you have chosen? How well do you understand why one is within a cognitive perspective and one is within an interactional perspective? Insight/Application: How well do you apply the two theories to a real-life conflict? Do you provide appropriate insights that stem from the theory itself? Do you show how you see the conflict differently as a result of applying the theories? Clarity: How clearly is the paper written? Is it well organized, grammatical, and easy to follow? Could someone who is unfamiliar with the theories easily learn something from your analysis?


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