Redefining Theory and Practice to Guide Social Transformation

  • Published on:  Wednesday, April 14, 2021
  • Spanish subtitles for this video are available.

    This virtual event recording from January 25, 2021 celebrates the launch of Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida and Joan C. Lopez’s book, Redefining Theory and Practice to Guide Social Transformation: Emerging Research and Opportunities, published by IGI Global. It features music, art, and reflections from the authors, as well as videos that the co-authors of several chapters pre-recorded for this special event. The featured co-authors are either current or former Youth Leaders in Medellin, Colombia with whom Dr. Beth Fisher-Yoshida and Joan C. Lopez applied the conflict transformation methods described in the book. Following these, there is a Q & A session.


    Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Ph.D.

    Academic Director; Professor of Practice; Vice Chair of Faculty

    Joan Camilo Lopez

    Youth, Peace, and Security Program Manager

    About Redefining Theory and Practice to Guide Social Transformation: Emerging Research and Opportunities

    The application of theory to practice in addressing social transformation still has a lot of room for growth and improvement. This is also true of theory being informed by practice. Too often, there are gaps between what is studied in the academy and what is needed in the field. The academy develops theories in isolation from the everyday lives of people, especially in post-conflict environments. Communities seeking innovative ways to address their social needs can benefit from the learning of theories and research conducted within academia. At the same time, these methods need to be relevant to the local contexts within which they are being used. While there are certain norms of communication in the academy of how research is conducted and disseminated, there needs to be a translation into practical terms to be used in the field.

    Redefining Theory and Practice to Guide Social Transformation: Emerging Research and Opportunities addresses the need practitioners and social change agents have in finding processes and practices to use in the field to engage with and transform communities. This critical reference book provides an innovative fieldwork method that leads to social transformation and suggests ways to further develop the relationship between academic theories and practices around social conflicts with the existing local knowledge. The chapters include mini case studies that have been developed over the years from the authors’ work with youth and community leaders with the objective of providing a methodology that allows practitioners to approach the field by engaging with local actors in ways that are generative and trustworthy, yet rigorous. While highlighting the practices, notions, and technologies that are at work in conflict, post-conflict, or transitioning out of conflict settings by local community leaders, this book is ideally for practitioners in the field of conflict, peacebuilding, and social and conflict transformation; community leaders and social organizers; as well as practitioners, stakeholders, researchers, academicians, and students interested in social transformation.


    Conflict resolution skills are essential for forging and stewarding successful relationships between people, communities, and organizations. Columbia University’s Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution prepares students to analyze the root causes and dynamics of conflict and to transform disputes through reasoned and resourceful interventions. With courses led by some of the world’s premier scholar-practitioners in negotiation and conflict resolution, the program focuses on developing self-awareness, tenacity, and interpersonal competency; building common ground; opening lines of communication; ensuring representation and recognition; and building sustainable possibilities for resolution. Flexible program options meet the needs of young and mid-career professionals as well as career-changing professionals.

    Columbia University has a rich heritage in conflict resolution theory beginning with the work of Morton Deutsch, and is widely recognized as a leader in the discipline. Conflict resolution professionals work in a range of fields, including business, law, education, healthcare, and government. They regularly act as arbitrators, mediators, facilitators, and ombuds.

    Learn more about Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University School of Professional Studies, or contact the program admissions counselor.

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