What Is Beyond Intractability?
Beyond Intractability is an online knowledge base focused on helping people in all walks of life better deal with difficult, long-lasting, and intractable conflicts. While some of BI's material is applicable to interpersonal conflicts, most of our focus is on larger scale conflicts—those tearing apart communities, nations, and international relations.
Three beliefs guide our efforts.
Destructive Conflict is the Most Serious Threat to Our Common Future. It ruins personal lives, prevents us from solving common problems, and underlies dystopian trends toward authoritarianism, chaos, and large-scale violence.
Conflict Problems Are Extraordinarily Multifaceted and Complex. Successfully addressing the many challenges posed by destructive conflict will require a very large-scale effort that mobilizes the full range of human ingenuity.
We All Have a Role to Play In Promoting More Constructive Conflict. Community and societal-level conflict cannot be solved by one side over-powering another, nor can they be solved by leaders dictating a prescribed solution. Everyone has to be involved by changing their own behaviors, hopes, and expectations so that together we can forge a community or a nation in which we all want to live.
This newsletter highlights new material being published by Beyond Intractability, as well as older material that has newfound relevance for today's pressing conflicts. While we will continue to post some articles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as we have in the past, this Substack Newsletter is the primary place where we will be posting our new material (in addition, of course, to the BI site itself).
Beyond Intractability is adding new material daily, most of it focused on big conflict problems that affect us all. One major focus is the hyper-polarization crisis that is threatening democracy in the U.S. and many other places around the world. We are collecting and sharing ideas from many people about how this highly dangerous situation can be more effectively addressed, including ideas about how we, as individuals, can contribute to the kind of very large-scale effort needed to reverse these dangerous trends. By subscribing to BI’s Substack Newsletter, you can find the latest thinking on this and other high-profile confict problems, such as abortion, climate, race, the economy, Ukraine and many others.
Who We Are
Beyond Intractability (BI) was developed and is still edited by Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess, a husband and wife team of Ph.Ds who have been studying, teaching about, and practicing conflict resolution for over 40 years. At this point (2022), over 500 additional people, both scholars and practitioners from around the world, have contributed articles and/or interviews to the knowledge base. In addition to materials written specifically for BI the knowledge base also contains thousands of links to valuable conflict-related resources produced by others.
From its founding in 1988 until 2019, the Burgesses and the Conflict Information Consortium (the home organization for BI) were located at the University of Colorado-Boulder. When the Burgesses retired from UCB in 2019, the Conflict Information Consortium and BI became an independent project.