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4 J. Conflict Resol. 1 (1960)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr4 and id is 1 raw text is: 








The geography of conflict: introduction


J. DAVID  SINGER
University of Michigpn


   In the three years since this Journal first
appeared,  conflict has been examined  at a
number of levels: intrapersonal, small-
group, labor-management,   interindustry, in-
terracial, and international. And, with a few
exceptions (7, 8), such conflict has been ap-
proached  primarily from a behaviorall point
of view, with  the emphasis  on personality,
attitude and  ideology, and communication.
It is not that the social or institutional en-
vironment  has been  ignored; this aspect of
the  ecology of conflict has received more
than  adequate  attention. But what has re-
ceived  relatively little attention has been
the physical  environment. The  total result
of such an  emphasis might  well be to con-
vey  an implication of individual or group
autonomy-the   notion  that the only  varia-
bles exercising any  appreciable impact  on
the behavior  of the actors are the internal
characteristics, the external behavior, and
the  social setting of the individuals and
groups involved.
   Aware  of the limitations of such an ap-
proach, and  its incompleteness as a frame-
work  for the  study of social conflict, the
editors decided to devote a special issue to
the  role of geography2  in the  generation
and  resolution of intergroup conflict. The

  1 The word behavioral is not used here in
the restricted sense in which  Duncan   and
Schnore  (3) use it but rather in the broader
sense, merely implying unconcern with physical
and geographical variables.


purpose  here is to examine and  emphasize
those variables which  are only partially, if
at all, subject to human modification. Such
environmental  dimensions   as climate, to-
pography,  land-sea configurations, and dis-
tribution of flora, fauna, and  mineral re-
sources impose  considerable limitations on
man's total autonomy.  He may  accept  such
limitations fatalistically, he may attempt to
adapt  to them, or he  may  seek to modify
or rearrange  these natural  phenomena   in
order to  broaden  his range  of alternative
responses to the environment.  But, in each
case, the individual or the group is by  no
means  completely the master  of his destiny
-there  are certain givens to which  man
must  adjust one way or another.
   In an effort to illustrate the nature and
significance of the environment as an inde-
pendent  variable in social conflict, we have
sought a broader  range of papers than one
might  ordinarily expect to find in a special
issue devoted to some single topic. The four
articles in Part I are all attempts to locate
and  identify the place of geographical con-
siderations in the study  of social conflict
and the role of geography vis-A-vis the other
disciplines involved in such research. The
Koch, North, and  Zinnes paper first offers a
general model  of goal  conflict among  na-

  2 What we subsume  under the rubric of ge-
ography is never altogether clear, but the pa-
pers by Kristof and Hartshorne should help dis-
pel some of the ambiguity.

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