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The Nature of Intractable Conflict: Resolution in the Twenty-First Century

by Christopher Mitchell

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  • Published Date: December 1, 2014
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillian
  • ISBN: 9781403945181


The Nature of Intractable Conflict introduces the latest ideas that seek to explain the basis of deep-rooted and violent conflict among human groups, communities and nations. It analyses a range of methods by which people have sought to mitigate, contain or resolve destructive processes, for example through customs, courts, humanitarian interventions, peacekeeping and peace-building.

Surveying the field of conflict analysis and resolution in the twenty-first century, Mitchell focuses on developments in theory and practice that have taken place over the last forty years, reviewing the foundations of the field and innovations such as the growth of interest in conflict prevention and long term peace-building, various forms of conflict mitigation, and efforts to introduce courts and legal processes to help with the control and resolution of violent conflict within and across inter-state boundaries.

Informed by fieldwork in Africa, Latin America, the Basque country, Northern Ireland and the former Soviet Union, this volume uniquely explores emerging ideas about the role of creativity and innovation in developing new ways of channelling or resolving apparently insoluble disputes. By examining the wider concepts of truth, reconciliation and post-conflict stability, this book will be an essential resource for all peace and conflict scholars.


"Chris Mitchell's Structure of International Conflict inspired a generation of academics and practitioners to enter the field of conflict analysis and resolution. Now, as he shows in this equally inspirational book, forty years on the field has grown enormously. This is a masterly survey of the current state of the art and an indispensable guide for all those, scholars and practitioners alike, who want to place themselves on the front line of research and practice." - Tom Woodhouse, University of Bradford, UK

Table of Contents

1. Compulsion; Natural Born Killers?
2. Formation: Sources and Emergence
3. Classification; Intractable Conflicts
4. Perpetuation; Dynamics and Intractability
5. Prevention
6. Mitigation
7. Regulation: Conflict Within Limits
8. Institutionalisation
9. Termination I: Keeping the Peace
10. Termination II: Resolving the Issues
11. Creation; Towards Transformation
12. Reconciliation; Ending the Hatred

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