Conflict Resolution in Civil Wars

Authored by: Isak Svensson

Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415622585
eBook ISBN: 9780203105962
Adobe ISBN: 9781136255786


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Conflict resolution has grown as an important research field in the study of civil wars. This chapter will identify the main contributions, debates and controversies in conflict resolution research. The basic question that will be addressed regards the resolution of civil wars: under what conditions are civil wars resolved? This is a pertinent question, for scholars and policymakers alike. It is important to gain knowledge about the resolution of conflicts within states because of their frequency, and because of the negative consequences that follow in their wake, including human suffering and death, refugee flows, and economic and ecological devastation. Conflict resolution is challenging due to the unique features of civil wars. Our analytical tools therefore need to be attuned to the specifics of civil wars in order to understand how civil wars can be peacefully ended. I suggest in this chapter that the main debates can be organized into four descriptive questions of when, who, what and how. Put differently, when are civil wars ripe for resolution, who are to be included in the attempts to resolve conflicts in order for them to be successful, what type of arrangements and peace agreements can resolve civil wars, and how can third parties best contribute to the resolution of these types of intrastate armed conflicts?

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