Polarization Series: The Keys to Good Conflict. Hélène Biandudi Hofer

Destructive conflict aims to destroy the other side. But constructive conflict can be a force for good.
In this episode we learn how good conflict helps move people beyond polarization, slogans, and angry tweets to a place where they can connect and grow— even as they strongly disagree. Hélène Biandudi Hofer says that when we have the vocabulary and basic skills to investigate conflict with curiosity, it can change everything.
Journalists Hélène Biandudi Hofer and Amanda Ripley co-founded Good Conflict, which works with news organizations, non-profits, elected officials, educators, religious leaders, and others to lean into conflict in a constructive, productive way. Hélène developed and managed the Solutions Journalism Network’s Complicating the Narratives project. She trained more than a thousand journalists across 125 newsrooms throughout the world.
"I believe story is the most underutilized and under-appreciated thing to help people understand those we disagree with and who are vastly different from ourselves," she tells us. In this podcast, we hear about the specific tools, skills and vocabulary Hélène uses to help people respond to disagreements without sliding into contempt.
Co-hosts and Richard come to this subject from very different places. While Richard says he "sometimes falls into a trap of trying to avoid conflict and ignoring that it's a needed part of life." Jim responds: "I like a good argument. I think it's healthy and kind of exciting sometimes to have a difference of opinion, especially with a good friend."
This episode and others about polarization are funded in part by a grant from Solutions Journalism Network. Richard is one of this year's Complicating The Narratives Fellows.
This week's recommendation: Jim is an enthusiastic listener to the podcast, "The Rest Is History", hosted by historians Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook.

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