Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Negotiating Transition

Academic journal article Journal of International Affairs

Negotiating Transition

Article excerpt

A review of Arab Spring: Negotiating in the Shadow of the Intifadat, edited by I. William Zartman (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2015), 496 pages.

Arab Spring: Negotiating in the Shadow of the Intifadat is essentially a collection of negotiation case studies, with nine cases from the major transition points in the Arab Spring, and two outlying cases--Serbia and South Africa--that share thematic similarities. These 11 cases are capped on both ends by theoretical papers on negotiating in transition from editor I. William Zartman, and a mid-length paper on the implications for policy by Fen Hanson. It is an excellent reference collection, and is best suited to readers who want specific information with some analysis rather than an overarching direction in the work.

As might be expected, the style and focus of the individual short works within are somewhat variable. Some authors provide a comprehensive level of detail and explanation concerning the events of the Arab Spring as viewed through a negotiation lens, others provide a blow-by-blow example of the negotiation itself, and still others are focused on championing a particular thesis related to negotiation. Outside of the previously mentioned introduction and conclusion pieces, there is no attempt made to thematically tie together the smaller works or to compare them against each other. This often leaves the reader feeling that they are perusing a helpfully-compiled series of essays for their own research rather than following a larger direction intended by the author. As a result, Arab Spring feels more like a reference collection than a single-purpose work, and readers will get the most out of it in that regard. …

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