Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
In everyday English-language usage, conflicts refer to (a) serious disagreements, (b) prolonged struggles (e.g., armed clashes resulting in loss of life, or labor disputes), or (c) the clash of incompatible claims or principles, as in conflicts of interest. In political science, conflicts can be analyzed as the outcomes of a certain kind of relationship, comparing relationships of cooperation and competition with those of conflict. When there is cooperation, humans work together in pursuit of common objectives. When there is competition, they struggle with one another in contests governed by rules that determine who succeeds and that identify the sanctions to be imposed for noncompliance. When there is conflict, either no rules are recognized or any relevant rules are not properly enforced. While rules may be embodied in laws or treaties, there may be dispute about their application. Moral principles may sometimes be regarded as rules of conduct. It should be ...