Slices of Conflict in Life

Question:  Where does conflict come from?

Answer: Normal, unconflicted life.

Building on Felstiner, Abel, and Sarat’s classic article describing the genesis of disputes, Naming, Blaming, Claiming, this overgrown blog post uses memoirs to analyze how people develop “perceived injurious experiences” (PIEs), some of which become grievances (when they blame others), and some of which become disputes (when they make demands that aren’t fully satisfied).  Only a tiny percentage of disputes involve lawyers or become lawsuits.  Most of the time, people experience life as normal – not perceiving that they have injurious experiences, which Felstiner, Abel, and Sarat call “unPIEs,” – until something causes them to have PIEs.

The article uses memoirs by Maya Angelou, Russell Baker, Bill Browder, John Grogan, Chaney Kwak, Philip Roth, and Leif Whittaker as well as a biography of George Floyd as data to illustrate a wide range of people’s perceptions of injurious experiences and ways that they deal with them.  Doing so helps understand normal life – unPIEs – and how conflict emanates from it.

Take a look.  I think you’ll enjoy it.  And learn stuff too.

Originally published by John Lande in Indisputably


John Lande

John Lande is the Isidor Loeb Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Law and former director of its LLM Program in Dispute Resolution.  He received his J.D. from Hastings College of Law and Ph.D in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He began mediating professionally in 1982 in California.… MORE

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