The State of Conflict

17Nov2017 09:30 - 17:30


A conference to explore political practice and social relations through the lens of conflict.

The State of Conflict Conference reflects on the significance and changing character of political practices and social relations in the Netherlands through the lens of conflict.

Have your conflicts or they will have you

Conflict is a particularly revealing perspective for democracies in diverse societies, in which the ability to govern is tied to the ability to deal with differences in a manner that does not destroy social and political relationships. Sustained impasse, deepening polarisation, and practical frustrations can all have a corrosive effect on these relationships and undermine confidence in political practices and institutions.  Limiting conflict—and thereby groups’ ability to articulate grievances and manage interdependence—can, similarly, undermine the legitimacy and resilience of democratic institutions and practices.  The practical democratic question is, then, not whether, but how, to have conflicts.  Reflecting on these conflicts —on where they start, how they develop, and how they are handled— can provide insights into the health of our democratic society.


The State of Conflict will bring together a diverse group from civil society, government, the private sector, and the research community to analyse and discuss trends in Dutch society. The day will be hosted by prof dr Alexander Rinnooy Kan.

The goal of the State of Conflict is to provide an opportunity to pause, step out of the daily flux of action, and take a look with others at the insights that conflicts can provide into the issues and problems that challenge the capacity of public, civic, and private institutions and practices.  We will focus on three areas in which conflicts currently challenge practice and open the kind of ‘critical moments’ in which problems are engaged and relationships develop—for better or worse.

These themes are:

  • Community and Conflict
  • The Shape of Civic Space
  • Changing Patterns of Representation

The day will provide ample opportunities to examine developments in breakout sessions organised with several partners focused on these three themes, as well as to draw insights around the key themes in plenary sessions. 

At the end of the conference, the first National Negotiation Award will be awarded, in cooperation with the Dutch newspaper NRC.


Participation is free and includes lunch and a borrel. As we expect seats to fill up quickly, we kindly ask you to reserve a place. Please register here. If you have any further questions please send an email to


This event will predominantly be in English, some components may be in Dutch depending on the composition of the group.

Location: University Library (Singel)

  • Universiteitsbibliotheek

    Singel 425 | 1012 WP Amsterdam
    +31 (0)20 525 2301

    Go to detailpage

Published by  CUS