The message at the heart of The Neutrality Trap is that, when it comes to the important social issues that face us today, avoiding conflict is a mistake. We need conflict, engagement, and disruption in order to make it to the other side and progress toward the worthy goal of social justice.
Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society. – John Lewis, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America, pg 3
“Work for social change through constructive engagement and systems disruption in this practical resource for social change advocates and conflict specialists.
In The Neutrality Trap, expert mediators and facilitators Bernard Mayer and Jacqueline N. Font-Guzmán deliver an insightful and practical exploration of how to understand the conflicts we face as social change agents.
You’ll learn about systems disruption and constructive engagement: how to develop the relationships and change strategies that help people, systems, and societies confront their most important social challenges. In this important book, you will:
- Discover how to challenge the status quo in an effective way
- Practice how to “get into good trouble,” and pick the battles worth fighting
- Learn to be strategic in your approach to social change and sustain your efforts over the long term
Perfect for anyone interested in progressing and achieving social justice, The Neutrality Trap is an indispensable guide to engaging in and managing the necessary conflict that comes with meaningful change.” Source – Wiley
- Preface ix
- I Engaging Conflict 1
- 1 Engaging and Disrupting for Social Change 3
- 2 The Neutrality Trap 27
- 3 Intersectionality and Social Change 51
- 4 Constructive Engagement 77
- II Deepening Conflict 101
- 5 The Hope and Challenge of Enduring Conflict 103
- 6 Beyond Evil, Stupid, and Crazy: Systems of Privilege and Oppression 137
- III Strategic Disruption 167
- 7 From Chaotic to Strategic Disruption 169
- 8 Allies, Teams, and Leaders 193
- 9 Disrupting and Connecting for Social Change: A Forward Look 213
- References 233
- Acknowledgments 247
- About the Authors 250
- Index 252
Listen to Podcasts
The Neutrality Trap in our Society, with Jackie Font-Guzmán and Bernie Mayer, Diversity Beyond the Checkbox
Sometimes it’s not OK to be just neutral. In fact, it can be very dangerous when talking about effecting change and establishing social justice for everyone. In this episode, hear why the problem led these Eastern Mennonite University professors, Jackie Font-Guzmán and Bernie Mayer, to co-authored “The Neutrality Trap: Disrupting and Connecting for Social Change.”
Bernie Mayer, an icon in the global mediation field, a scholar, a writer, a practitioner, a teacher, a mentor and a friend, joins me today to talk about his book The Neutrality Trap, Disrupting and Connecting for Social Change. Earlier books include: The Conflict Paradox, Seven Dilemmas at the Core of Disputes, The Dynamics of Conflict, Beyond Neutrality, and Staying With Conflict.
We talk about disrupting and connecting around larger societal issues as well as in our families and intimate relationships. Systems don’t like change. We need both disruption to spark change and connection to direct and navigate it.
- Democracy Resource Hub Collection in the Commons Library
- Principles of Co-operative Conflict Resolution
- Pathways to Repair: Guides to Navigate Healing, Trust building and Human Messiness
- De-escalate, Manage and Transform Conflict
- Transformative Approaches to Conflict Resolution
- Social Identity and Group Norms