Comparing Galtung’s Theory of Conflict Resolution with Freud’s Psychoanalytical Theory

Sunday 3 December 2023

Drago, Antonino. CIC. Cuadernos de Información y Comunicación 28 (September 4, 2023): 57–66.

This article examines Galtung’s conceptualisation of ‘A-B-C’ conflicts and their similarity to Freud’s psychoanalytic approach. The A-B-C triangle models human behaviour in conflict as an interdependent interaction of the attitudes, behaviours and contradictions within and between different participants. A conflict can start at any of the three points, but inevitably expands to encompass an interrelation of all three. Drago posits that (successful) Freudian psychoanalysis is an archetypal A-B-C conflict between, and within, the patient and analyst. The conflict’s resolution is particularly striking, with a fusion of the patient and analyst’s triangles during sessions: the analyst contributes the resulting attitudes, the patient contributes the behaviours, and the contradictions a synthesis of both. The article then further discusses the psychoanalytic repercussions of this. Drago emphasises the importance of Galtung’s theory for Freudian theory and vice versa. Crucially, he stresses non-classical logic as key to overcoming both mental and external conflicts: the A-B-C triad cannot be collapsed into a set of three conflicting binaries, instead, peacebuilders must approach conflicts holistically.

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