When Spider Webs Unite: Five Case Studies of the Third Side in Action

By PON Staffon / News, Reviews of Books

by Joshua N. Weiss, Brian Blancke, Bianca Wulff,
Rebecca J. Wolfe, Mark Young, and Chang In Shin
Cambridge, MA: PON Books, 2002.

When Spider Webs Unite is the next work in the evolution of William Ury’s “Third Side” concept, originally set forth in The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop (New York: Penguin, 2000). Through a series of case studies, When Spider Webs Unite illustrates how the “Third Side” — the community context within which a conflict occurs — becomes operationalized in actual conflict situations.

The five case studies, written by Program on Negotiation Graduate Fellows, represent a wide range of conflicts: Native American land claim disputes in upstate New York in the late 1990s, a management buyout conflict during German reunification and the privatization of former East German companies, collective resistance in Tuzla during the 1991-95 Balkan war, a health care access crisis in Peru during the mid-1990s, and the 1994 US-North Korea nuclear standoff. The case studies shed light on the obstacles and barriers to the emergence of the “Third Side” as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the concept. The book concludes with a summary of “Third Side” lessons and thoughts for future research.

When Spider Webs Unite is available through the PON Clearinghouse at http://www.pon.org/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=313.