The aim of this article is to explore the possibilities that systemic action research offers to conflict transformation. After elaborating on crucial components of action research processes, they will be connected to some of the thinking in other chapters of this book.
While most models of conflict resolution practice tend to be based on linear, cause-and-effect assumptions, interventions in the real world frequently impact in non-linear ways, and outcomes become unpredictable. The assumption that we can bring about a specific type of outcome in complex systems of enduring conflict is highly contestable. This body of work provides a theoretical rationale for shifting the focus of conflict resolution beyond effective dialogue and localized interventions at sites of conflict, towards transformation of the underlying systemic patterns which structure the conflict. This chapter focuses on how to operationalize such concerns through the practices of systemic action research.