The Constructive Role of Conflict in an Intentional Community: Auroville as a Case Study

Datla, Chaitanya (2014) The Constructive Role of Conflict in an Intentional Community: Auroville as a Case Study. Masters thesis, Northeastern University.

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This thesis explores the psychological determinants and constructive and destructive roles of conflict in Auroville – a unique intentional community, emerging international township and experiment in human unity in South India. It also attempts to understand how conflicts are resolved and peace restored in such a complex social environment. The population of Auroville currently represents forty-four countries, of all age groups, and persons from multiple socio-economic and cultural backgrounds; as such, it presents a microcosm of the international community. Although Auroville ultimately aims to achieve human unity, it faces challenges and tensions at individual, group and system levels. Kenneth Waltz’s levels-of-analysis thesis serves as a particularly effective and appropriate theoretical framework to study the role of social conflict in Auroville from a social-psychological perspective. To gain greater understanding of the dynamics of conflict and peace in Auroville’s multicultural environment, twenty-five structured interviews were conducted by way of field-study research. Participants comprise Aurovillians from ten different nationalities and regions in the international community. Research findings emphasize the constructive role conflict plays in Auroville and the need to reconcile diverging positions for the purpose of realizing the community’s vision of human unity. In that connection, the study identifies the community’s underlying belief of ‘unity’ – oneness of all beings – as a crucial factor in building peace beyond existing conflict resolution practices in Auroville. Finally, this research can be applied to international institutions or non-conventional intentional communities, such as the United Nations, European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations and African Union, to examine and identify the constructive role of conflict in them.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: Conflict and Human Unity > Conflict and Human Unity (General)
Depositing User: Admin User
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2019 15:20
Last Modified: 21 May 2020 04:48

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