Conflict Management and Resolution: An Introduction

Conflict Management and Resolution: An Introduction

Conflict Management and Resolution: An Introduction

Conflict Management and Resolution: An Introduction

Synopsis

Conflict Management and Resolutionprovides students with an overview of the main theories of conflict management and conflict resolution, and will equip them to respond to the complex phenomena of international conflict.

The book covers these four key concepts in detail:

  • negotiation
  • mediation
  • facilitation
  • reconciliation.

It examines how to prevent, manage and eventually resolve various types of conflict that originate from inter-state and inter-group competition, and expands the existing scope of conflict management and resolution theories by examining emerging theories on the identity, power and structural dimensions of adversarial relationships. The volume is designed to enhance our understanding of effective response strategies to conflict in multiple social settings as well as violent struggles, and utilizes numerous case studies, both past and current. These include the Iranian and North Korean nuclear weapons programmes, the war in Lebanon, the Arab-Israeli conflict, civil wars in Africa, and ethnic conflicts in Europe and Asia.

This book will be essential reading for all students of conflict management and resolution, mediation, peacekeeping, peace and conflict studies and International Relations in general.

Ho-Won Jeongis Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, USA. He has published nine books in the field of international relations, peace and conflict studies. He is also a senior editor of the International Journal of Peace Studies.

Excerpt

This book covers processes and methods adopted to end ethnic and other types of conflicts which have drawn international attention. The imposition of state hegemony has provoked protracted struggles between governments and ethnic minorities in many parts of Africa, former Yugoslavia, the former Soviet republics, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere. Power asymmetric relationships have permitted the continued imposition of harsh rule in Tibet, Burma, Spanish Western Sahara, and Chechnya with little prospect for relieving the suffering of the marginalized populations.

For the last two decades, we have observed a plethora of activities many of which have yielded peace accords. Protracted conflicts in South Africa and Northern Ireland eventually ended with the establishment of new governing structures designed to mend deep layers of social and political rifts. Even after the fighting is over, however, the massacres of innocent civilians and genocide in Sudan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Guatemala, and Rwanda have left big scars to heal in the future. Reconciliation has become an important cornerstone of transforming adversarial relationships for coexistence.

The complexities of intractable conflicts defy any easy, simple generalization of social, political processes to regulate, mitigate, settle and eventually resolve seemingly irreconcilable differences. Yet many of these experiences, both failed and successful, can be comprehended in conceptual knowledge which can be applicable to other conflicts which continue to flare up. In doing so, the manuscript offers theoretical perspectives that illustrate different features of strategies aimed at changing social, psychological dynamics of destructive fights.

In covering a various range of conflict management and resolution activities, the main features of this book center on linking negotiation, mediation, and facilitation methods to different stages of conflict. In protracted conflict, mutual understanding of the necessity for talks can be forged through dialogue or other informal facilitation methods which promote deeper analysis of the causes and exploration of a way out. When deep mistrust and suspicion dominate negotiation, mediation can be introduced to improve communication and change perceptions of each other. These processes can be better illuminated by our knowledge about conflict relationships embedded in power, identity, and structures which are directly or indirectly related to inducing changes in antagonistic behavior.

In completing this manuscript, I am very grateful for the ten anonymous reviewers who offered valuable comments on shaping various aspects of the manuscript. I also appreciate the help given by Routledge editor, Andrew Humphreys, for initiating this project as well as providing editorial comments and suggestions for revisions. My research has been stimulated by the encouragement of such founding scholars of peace and conflict studies as Chadwick F. Alger, John W. Burton, Johan Galtung, Elise Boulding, Milton Esman, David Singer, Janice Stein, Jurgen Dedring, the late Paul Smoker, and many others.

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