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INTRODUCTION

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The problem: Tension and destructive conflicts in society

Many burning issues in society today are of a complex nature. There are no precise answers for these issues. Citizens are increasingly engaging in these issues in other ways than via political parties. The Internet and social media make it easier for people to mobilise outside of the political system. At the same time, formal political organisations continue to operate in a traditional manner within the framework of representative democracy’s logic. This risks threatening the legitimacy of the representative democratic system. It is no longer seen as being truly representative of the will of the people. Trust in authorities and for politicians appears to diminish while the expectations for participation increase. Those in the system close ranks and this increases tension between them and stakeholders. The result is an increased risk for destructive societal conflict and even conflict within public organisations.

 

The alternative: Another reality is possible

Tension and conflict are indications that change is necessary. It is possible to transform tension and conflict into opportunities to create a more sustainable society. We believe that it is important find new ways of thinking, new ways of working where people are included, where power is shared and where the legitimacy of the democratic system is simultaneously strengthened.

It is through inclusive and co-creative dialogues that different perspectives can meet and confront each other simultaneously increasing trust and promoting respect for different points of view. Criticism, which may initially be viewed as counter-productive, becomes a resource. Such processes lead to the increase of trust for authorities and the strengthening of relationships so vital for social cohesion and sustainability. In addition, they contribute to better decisions and the sharing of responsibility.

HOW WE CAN HELP

We primarily support actors within the public sector as they deal with tension that surrounds complex problems and social conflicts. Our tools are dialogue and mediation based on an inclusive approach aimed at transforming tension, resistance and conflict into positive energy for constructive change. We do not shy away from polarities that arise around different issues. We firmly believe that polarised perspectives should be made visible and brought into dialogue. We do not view opposition as an obstacle but rather as wisdom that can contribute to better decisions for individuals and groups. Our aim is to empower civil servants and politicians in creating and maintaining relationships with stakeholders and increase both trust and legitimacy.

dialogues.se

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martin.sande@dialogues.se

bernard.leroux@dialogues.se

emilia.rozsa@dialogues.se

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