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Mediating Across DifferenceOceanic and Asian Approaches to Conflict Resolution$
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Morgan Brigg and Roland Bleiker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834593

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834593.001.0001

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Korean Sources of Conflict Resolution

Korean Sources of Conflict Resolution

An Inquiry into the Concept of Han

(p.248) Chapter 12 Korean Sources of Conflict Resolution
Mediating Across Difference

Roland Bleiker

Hoang Young-ju

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the Korean concept of ‘Han’, a collective emotion usually translated as ‘sorrow’ or ‘sadness’. Han emerges as a result of particular grievances: injustices done to a person or a collective. The chapter discusses two manners in which Han differs substantially from Western approaches to conflict resolution: the explicit engagement with the emotional nature of conflict; and the conceptualisation of mediation as a process of engaging broad societal issues, rather than merely settling clashes between individuals. By doing so, the chapter observes that the concept of Han identifies a path that moves from grief and sorrow to a gradual transformation of conflict, thus providing important suggestions about how to break cycles of violence. Locating a way out of anger and feelings for revenge, the concept of Han and its direct engagement with emotions validate forgiveness and compassion as central elements of reconciliation and conflict resolution.

Keywords:   Han, Korea, conflict emotion, mediation, societal issues, conflict transformation

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