The South African Peace Process: An Urgency Theory Analysis

Book Chapter
Dean Pruitt
The South African Peace Process: An Urgency Theory Analysis
Published Date: December 10, 2011
Topics of Interest: Southern Africa, PeaceBuilding, Violence

The South African peace process between 1985 and 1993 is one of the most dramatic turnarounds in history. In 1985, when the first contacts were made between the adversaries, the country was embroiled in a severe, seemingly intractable conflict. A massive anti-apartheid uprising was occurring, with non-whites taking part in protest meetings and demonstrations; rent, school, and consumer boycotts; strikes, riots, and citizen takeovers of several townships. There were also many violent  incidents, including the execution of hundreds of supposed government collaborators. The white government struck back by declaring a state of emergency, arresting more than 30,000 demonstrators, and killing more than 3,000. This led to a lull in 1988, but a well-organized uprising began to rebuild in 1989. Nevertheless, in 1990, the president legalized the main opposition parties, released most political prisoners, and began negotiations that led to majority rule and the end of apartheid. Urgency theory, a derivation from ripeness theory, is put forward to interpret this radical transformation. This theory explains a party’s movement toward negotiation and its concession making in terms of three variables: perception that one cannot beat the adversary at acceptable cost, perceived urgency to escape the conflict, and optimism about the outcome of negotiation. All three variables were strong for both parties; but by 1990, the white leadership felt much more urgency than the non-white leadership, which led to much more concession making. This inequality in bargaining strength casts doubt on the common assumption that the parties must be of comparable strength for a conflict to be ripe for resolution. The South African case is particularly interesting because the optimism that encouraged negotiation and initial concessions resulted from two sets of unpublicized back-channel meetings that took place over a four-year period: (1) meetings between Nelson Mandela, still a prisoner, and several government officials and (2) meetings between leaders of the African National Congress in exile and some highly placed members of the Broederbond, the main white political organization. Without these meetings, a major conflagration would probably have occurred.

Bibliography

Complete Bibliography is Available Here

Citation:

Nan, Susan Allen, Zachariah Cherian Mampilly, and Andrea Bartoli. Peacemaking: from practice to theory. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger, 2011. Print. Praeger security international.

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In a world where conflict is never ending, this thoughtful compilation fosters a new appreciation of the art of peacemaking as it is understood and practiced in a variety of contemporary settings.

Whenever we seek to understand others, build healthy relationships, soothe discord, right wrongs, or nurture respect, we are making peace. Whatever the situation, peacemaking is about learning—learning the other; learning the issue; learning the future; learning to co-create a new, shared reality. The more we know about how peace is made, the better equipped we are to help peace prevail.

Peacemaking: From Practice to Theory is about seeing, knowing, and learning peacemaking as it exists in the real world. Built on the premise that peacemaking is among the most elemental of human experiences, this seminal work emphasizes the importance of practice and lived experiences in understanding the process and learning what works to nurture peace.

To appropriately reflect the diversity of peacemaking practices, challenges, and innovations, these two volumes bring together many authors and viewpoints. The first volume consists of two sections: "Peacemaking in Practice" and "Towards an Inclusive Peacemaking;" the second of two additional sections: "New Directions in Peacemaking" and "Interpreting Peacemaking." As the title states, the work moves peacemaking beyond mere theory, showcasing peacemaking efforts produced, recorded, recognized, and understood by a variety of individuals and institutions. In doing so, it refocuses the study of peacemaking and guides readers to a systematic understanding and appreciation of the practices of peacemakers around the globe.

Features
• Contributions from an international, interdisciplinary team of 48 experts who bring together insights from peace and conflict resolution studies, anthropology, sociology, law, cultural studies, and political science
• First-person narratives detailing the experiences of prominent peacemakers
• Offers access to an ongoing, Internet-based, practice-to-theory project
• An extensive bibliography of resources about peacemaking and related fields

Highlights
• Recognizes and promotes peacemaking as an empirical, shared human experience
• Proposes a practice-to-theory movement for facilitating peacemaking, linking academic research with practice across disciplines
• Draws on insights from multiple religious and philosophical traditions
• Enriches the reader's understanding of the evolving international system

Bibliography

Complete Bibliography is Available Here

Citation:

Nan, Susan Allen, Zachariah Cherian Mampilly, and Andrea Bartoli. Peacemaking: from practice to theory. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger, 2011. Print. Praeger security international.

Full Text

Full text of this publication is available to subscribers at PSI ONLINE

 

 

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