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Conflict Resolution in the Twenty-first Century

Principles, Methods, and Approaches

Jacob Bercovitch and Richard Jackson

Publication Year: 2009

An outstanding overview and assessment of contemporary conflict resolution; the authors never avoid the challenging questions, or critical answers. ---Åshild Kolås, Program Leader, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding Program, International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) "Conflict Resolution in the Twenty-first Century is very readable and crystallizes the breadth of conflict resolution today and the relevance of new approaches for the future." ---Jeffrey W. Helsing, Deputy Director, Education and Training Center, United States Institute of Peace "This concise and readable volume offers readers an impressive sample of the responses---both traditional and emerging---in the conflict resolution toolbox, crisply outlining how they relate to today's dynamic conflict environment." ---Chester A. Crocker, James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University "Authoritative, well written, and astoundingly broad and deep. Must-reading for all students of international and ethnopolitical conflict resolution." ---Dean G. Pruitt, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University "The idea that the nature and methods of conflict resolution ought to change as the kinds of conflict that dominate the world-at-large shift is very appealing." ---Professor Lawrence Susskind, Director, MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program "A comprehensive overview, based upon in depth familiarity with the research, scholarship, and practice in the field." ---Louis Kriesberg, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Maxwell Professor Emeritus of Social Conflict Studies, Syracuse University In the past, arbitration, direct bargaining, the use of intermediaries, and deference to international institutions were relatively successful tools for managing interstate conflict. In the face of terrorism, intrastate wars, and the multitude of other threats in the post–Cold War era, however, the conflict resolution tool kit must include preventive diplomacy, humanitarian intervention, regional task-sharing, and truth commissions. Here, Jacob Bercovitch and Richard Jackson, two internationally recognized experts, systematically examine each one of these conflict resolution tools and describe how it works and in what conflict situations it is most likely to be effective. Conflict Resolution in the Twenty-first Century is not only an essential introduction for students and scholars, it is a must-have guide for the men and women entrusted with creating stability and security in our changing world. Jacob Bercovitch is Professor of International Relations at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Richard Jackson is Reader in International Politics at Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom. Cover illustration © iStockphoto.com

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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pp. ix-xi

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Chapter One: International Conflict and Its Resolution: Moving from the Twentieth to the Twenty-first Century

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pp. 1-16

In this book we hope to offer a truly comprehensive survey and analysis of the major methods of conflict resolution. We do this because we believe that conflict resolution is an important activity that concerns us all, and because we can see that there has been a fundamental shift in the approach, understanding, and evolution of conflicts. As conflicts change, so do the approaches required to deal...

Part One: Principles and Traditional Approaches

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Chapter Two: International Negotiation

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pp. 19-31

The aim of this chapter is twofold: first, to highlight the main features of bargaining and negotiation as an important approach to conflict resolution, and second, to highlight the social-psychological framework in the study of bargaining and negotiation. Negotiation has become something of a growth industry offering the prospect of...

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Chapter Three: Mediation and International Conflict Resolution

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pp. 32-46

When negotiations fail, or for some reason one or both parties in conflict refuse to communicate, states will often seek or accept mediation by an outside person, party, or organization to assist with their conflict resolution efforts. As a method of conflict resolution, the practice of settling disputes through intermediaries has had a rich history in all cultures, both Western and non-Western (Gulliver...

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Chapter Four: Arbitration, Adjudication, and International Law

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pp. 47-59

International law–based methods of conflict resolution are a binding form of third-party intervention. Disputing states submit their claims to an impartial judicial body that makes a ruling on the basis of established international legal principles. Through adjudication, or judicial settlement, disputes are referred to an established court or standing tribunal, such as the International Court of...

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Chapter Five: International Organization: The United Nations

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pp. 60-74

Resolving or managing conflict through the structures of international organizations such as the United Nations (UN) is a political approach that differs significantly from the diplomatic and law-based methods—negotiation, mediation, adjudication, and arbitration—we have already examined. In the multilateral context, disputing states have opportunities to explore their settlement options...

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Chapter Six: Peacekeeping

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pp. 75-84

Peacekeeping is a fairly recent addition to the repertoire of international conflict resolution approaches. Unlike negotiation, mediation, and international organization, which have been used by states for settling disputes for hundreds of years, peacekeeping has only become an established method of conflict resolution since 1956. A form of peaceful third-party intervention, peacekeeping is...

Part Two: Twenty-first-Century Methods and Approaches

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Chapter Seven: Preventive Diplomacy

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pp. 87-100

By the end of the twentieth century, the most violent and destructive period in all of human history, we had witnessed some of the most radical changes in the international environment—changes that should have given cause for unrestrained optimism. Economic advances have taken place nearly everywhere; East-West conflict...

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Chapter Eight: Humanitarian Intervention

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pp. 101-118

Humanitarian intervention is a recent and highly visible method of conflict resolution that recasts the traditional third-party intervention role into novel and highly controversial forms. On one level, it is an extension of preventive diplomacy; it involves attempting to stop largescale human rights abuses or to prevent the outbreak of conflict and create the conditions for a durable, positive...

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Chapter Nine: Regional Task-Sharing

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pp. 119-136

Regional task-sharing—the devolution or “subcontracting” by the United Nations of conflict resolution tasks such as peacekeeping or peace-enforcement to regional actors—has emerged as a key plank in the post–Cold War international security management platform. Also referred to as “security regionalism” (Alagappa 1998), it recasts the traditional third-party intervention role into...

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Chapter Ten: Nonofficial Diplomacy

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pp. 137-150

Broadly speaking, there are two types of intervening actors in international conflict: official, diplomatic, and governmental actors (Track I diplomats) and informal, nonofficial, and private actors (Track II diplomats). Nonofficial or Track II diplomacy, once virtually invisible in international conflict resolution, is now a critical...

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Chapter Eleven: Reconciliation and Justice

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pp. 151-167

Reconciliation and justice approaches, most often seen in truth commissions (TC) and human rights trials, have emerged in recent years as one of the most visible strategies for national reconstruction of the moral and political order following civil war or repressive dictatorship. Their aim is to deal decisively with the past, particularly the legacy of massive human rights abuses, and lay the...

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Chapter Twelve: Peacebuilding

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pp. 168-183

Described officially for the first time in UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali’s groundbreaking An Agenda for Peace (1992), peacebuilding is the most recent addition to the international community’s repertoire of conflict resolution methods. In an important sense, it represents the acme of the evolutionary development of international conflict resolution theory and practice; going beyond the more...

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pp. 184-190

Conflict resolution, which we have taken to mean a range of activities, both formal and informal, designed to limit, reduce, or control the level of violence and to lay the foundation for a sustained effort to address the underlying issues in conflict, is clearly not static. Many changes have taken place in the way conflicts are managed and resolved...


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pp. 191-206


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pp. 207-226

E-ISBN-13: 9780472022182
E-ISBN-10: 0472022180
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472050628
Print-ISBN-10: 0472050621

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 7 Tables, 6 Figures
Publication Year: 2009