conflict & communication online, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2002
ISSN 1618-0747




Ilhan Kizilhan (Villingen-Schwenningen)
Conflicts and conflict solutions in patriarchal communities using the example of solidarity groups in Eastern Anatolia

Patriarchal societies dispose of a complex structure with internalized processes which can persist for centuries. For individuals in such a society these processes and rules are sometimes so internalized that they begin to act automatically without their being aware of why they are behaving in one way and not another in a particular situation. It is particularly in conflicts between an individual and a group that these automatic behavioral and action programs are activated. Collective societies with strong patriarchal structures dispose of many automatic behavioral modes and rules which have developed historically in the group. Processes of control or checking and the re-evaluation of situations are less marked or occur in an automatic form in the pre-given frame of the patriarchal structures.
This contribution discusses conflicts and also possible conflict solutions using as an example patriarchal solidarity groups in East Anatolia. A precondition of conflict solving is precise information on the rules, rituals, ceremonies and historical givens of the respective group in order, e.g., to facilitate mediation or resolution. Limited knowledge of these structures, behavioral and action programs can intensify conflicts and have devastating consequences. Thus it is quite possible to mediate an act of blood revenge by following specific rules. However, using the wrong conflict solution strategies can lead to renewed war between two tribes.
Therefore we will first discuss social structure in greater detail and then delve into possible conflict solutions. The solidarity groups in East Anatolia include not just Turks, Kurds, Iranians and Arabs, but also ethnic and religious groups such as, e.g., Yezides, Alevites, Assyrians, Ahl-Haqs, etc. This means that these solidarity groups have very similar structures despite different ethnic origins and religions. We will go into detail on the aspects in which they differ.
It must, however, be pointed out that not every individual from East Anatolia must or does abide by these rules. Society there has also changed due to globalization and new communication networks. The below-described constellation still applies above all to rural areas and represents a theoretical construct with practical relevance.


  full text in German  
On the author: Ilhan Kizilhan, Dr. rer. soc., Dipl. Psych., Institut für Friedensforschung -Mittlerer Osten, author of numerous studies of ethnic minorities in the Middle East, scientific advisor for several clinics in Germany for trans-cultural psychiatry/psychology, psychological expert, psychotherapeutic publications, inter alia: "Die Yeziden. Eine anthropologische und sozialpsychologische Studie über die kurdische Gemeinschaft" (Frankfurt/M.: medico international, 1997); "Zwischen Angst und Aggression. Kinder im Krieg" (Bad Honnef: Horlemann, 2000). e-mail: