- Mairead Corrigan Maguire
These references supplement the Knowledge Base Essay, Underlying Causes of Intractable Conflict.
Additional Explanations of the Underlying Concepts:
Online (Web) Sources
The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation. Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, 1999.
Available at: http://wwics.si.edu/subsites/ccpdc/pubs/apple/toc.htm
"Terrorists and peacemakers may grow up in the same community and adhere to the same religious tradition. The killing carried out by one and the reconciliation fostered by the other indicate the range of dramatic and contradictory responses to human suffering by religious actors. Yet religion's ability to inspire violence is intimately related to its equally impressive power as a force for peace, especially in the growing number of conflicts around the world that involve religious claims and religiously inspired combatants. This book explains what religious terrorists and religious peacemakers share in common, what causes them to take different paths in fighting injustice, and how a deeper understanding of religious extremism can and must be integrated more effectively into our thinking about tribal, regional, and international conflict." - Editorial Review
Glaser, Tanya. "An Answer to War: Conflicts and Intervention in Contemporary International Relations-- Summary." University of Colorado-Boulder: Conflict Research Consortium, 1900.
Available at: Link
This summary covers a chapter authored by Roberto Toscano, from The Handbook of Interethnic Coexistence. In this chapter, the author argues that with the end of the Cold War, theorists need to shift their focus away from game theory, weapons systems and the "theology of deterrence" and instead focus on the mechanisms that can cause, prevent or stop conflicts. They must shift away from large-scale systematic interpretations which attribute conflicts to external forces. Instead they must recognize the polycentric, pluralistic nature of many contemporary conflicts.
Adan, Mohamud, Ruto Pkalya and Isabella Masinde. "Conflict in Northern Kenya: A Focus on the Internally Displaced Conflict Victims in Northern Kenya." Intermediate Technology Development Group, 2003.
Available at: Primary Link
This case study describes the nature of violent conflicts in the Northern districts of Kenya. It describes the causes and consequences attached to the conflicts, the actors involved and preventative measures that can be used to transform and prevent these violent episodes.
Burton, John W. "Conflict Resolution: The Human Dimension." International Journal of Peace Studies, Vol. 3, No. 1 , 1998
Available at: http://www.gmu.edu/academic/ijps/vol3-1/burton.htm
Burton describes Human Needs Theory explaining that needs, rather than interests, are often the root cause of long term conflicts.
Harris, Peter and Benjamin Reilly. Democracy and Deep-Rooted Conflict .
Available at: Primary Link
This is the opening chapter of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Asisstance's online book, "Democracy and Deep-Rooted Conflict". This piece discusses the factors that tend to be in play in particularly difficult-to-resolve conflicts.
Crawford, Beverly and Ronnie Lipschutz. "Policy Brief 2: "Ethnic" Conflict Isn't." , March 1995
Available at: http://igcc.ucsd.edu/pdf/policybriefs/pb02.pdf
In this policy brief, the authors point out that "ethnic" and "sectarian" conflict are not caused by ethnicity or religion. Such conflicts occur when a country's "social contract" comes under pressure from both internal and external forces. When the global economy pressures governments to engage in rapid political and economic reform, ethnic and sectarian entrepreneurs mobilize constituencies around ethnic or religious differences in an attempt to grab or restore positions of power and wealth. Avoiding future episodes of "ethnic and sectarian conflict" requires early warning systems and intervention in societies undergoing rapid and destabilizing economic and political transitions.
Stewart, Frances. Root Causes of Violent Conflict in Developing Countries.
Available at: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/324/7333/342
This piece discusses cultural and economic factors existing in developing countries, which the author believes predispose populations in developing countries to violent conflict.
Offline (Print) Sources
Sandole, Dennis J. D. Capturing the Complexity of Conflict: Dealing With Violent Ethnic Conflicts in the Post-Cold War Era. Pinter Pub Ltd, April 1, 2000.
This book explores the terrain of ethnic conflicts in the post-cold war era, focusing specifically on the causes, conditions, and perpetuation of violent conflict and war.
Burton, John W. Conflict: Resolution and Provention. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, Inc., July 1990.
The author suggests that protracted conflict often arises out of unmet human needs. Conflict provention seeks to address the underlying systemic causes of conflict rather than merely dealing with its symptoms. It suggests that the best way to deal with serious social problems is to alter the structures of the social environments that give rise to these problems. Primary Link
Kupchan, Charles A. "Empires and Geopolitical Competition: Gone for Good?." In Turbulent Peace: The Challenges of Managing International Conflict. Edited by Crocker, Chester A., Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall, eds. Herndon, VA: USIP Press, July 1, 2001.
The author suggests that traditional power politics and geopolitical comepetition are still present in today's world. Democracy, international institutions, and the globalization of markets for trade and information may encourage rivalry among regions and contribute to instability.
Gleditsch, Nils. "Environmental Change, Security and Conflict." In Turbulent Peace: The Challenges of Managing International Conflict. Edited by Crocker, Chester A., Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall, eds. Herndon, VA: USIP Press, July 1, 2001.
This chapter looks at the expanding notion of security in international politics to include common and human security, with issues spanning the realms of political, economic and social, cultural and environmental security.
Brown, Michael E. "Ethnic and Internal Conflicts: Causes and Implications." In Turbulent Peace: The Challenges of Managing International Conflict. Edited by Crocker, Chester A., Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall, eds. Herndon, VA: USIP Press, July 1, 2001.
The author discusses various theories about the underlying causes of ethnic and internal conflicts and identifies the four types of cause commonly cited by scholars: structural, political, economic/social, and cultural. He suggests that more attention should be paid to the factors that trigger a conflict, particularly the actions of domestic elites. Because no single set of factors is responsible for every type of conflict, different policy response will be necessary in each case.
International Dimensions of Internal Conflict. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996.
This book analyzes the domestic, regional, and international dimensions of internal conflicts, looking beyond the 'ancient hatreds' interpretation of popular journalism to understand why such conflicts are occurring now and how they might be ameliorated. The first part of the book examines the sources of internal conflicts and the ways these may spill over or draw in neighboring states and the international community. The second part examines specific problems, policy instruments, and key actors including: the control of aggressive nationalism, the prevention of secessionist violence, and the resolution of civil wars; the roles of the media and nongovernmental organizations; arms limitations and economic sanctions; military challenges; the policies of the United States and the United Nations; and the prospects for collective action. The book recommends specific approaches to help prevent and moderate internal conflict and to limit its spread when it arises.
Coleman, Peter T. "Intractable Conflict." In The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice. Edited by Deutsch, Morton and Peter T. Coleman, eds. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2000.
This article discusses the characteristics, causes, and consequences of intractable conflict as well as implications for how to address them. Its underlying causes include irreconcilable moral differences, high-stakes distributional issues, and issues of identity.
Northrup, Terrell A., Stuart J. Thorson and Louis Kriesberg, eds. Intractable Conflicts and their Transformations. New York: Syracuse University Press, 1989.
The editors bring together essays from a number of authors who explore intractability through diverse theoretical frameworks and case histories. In all of these essays, intractable conflicts are seen as resisting resolution, but are not considered "unresolvable." Primary Link
Deutsch, Morton. "Justice and Conflict." In The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice. Edited by Coleman, Peter T. and Morton Deutsch, eds. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.
This chapter explores the various types of justice, the scope of justice, and how perceived injustice can serve as an underlying cause of intractable conflict.
Kaufman, Stuart. Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, July 2001.
This award-winning book presents an entirely new general theory of ethnic wars. The theory combines rational choice and psychological explanations into a symbolic politics theory in order to explain why people engage in ethnic warfare. The core assumption of the theory is that people make political choices based on emotion and in response to symbols. The author applies the theory to several cases from the former Soviet Union and the Balkans.
Pearce, W. Barnett and Stephen W. Littlejohn. Moral Conflict: When Social Worlds Collide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, April 1997.
Moral Conflicts are passionate and difficult to resolve. Responses that are normally effective, such as explaining, persuading, and compromising, can make matters worse and drive people further apart in such conflicts. Moral conflicts occur when incommensurate social realities come to clash. In an original synthesis of communication theory and their own research, W. Barnett Pearce and Stephen W. Littlejohn describe a dialectical tension between the expression and suppression of conflict that can be transcended in ways that lead to personal growth and productive patterns of social action.
Glendon, Mary Ann. Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse. New York: Free Press, 1993.
Glendon argues that modern American political discourse encourages people to frame issues in terms of absolute individual rights. This impedes understanding and limits the extent to which parties engaged in conflict are willing to compromise. Rights talk in this way contributes to intractable conflict.
Howard, Michael. "The Causes of War." In Turbulent Peace: The Challenges of Managing International Conflict. Edited by Crocker, Chester A., Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall, eds. Herndon, VA: USIP Press, July 1, 2001.
Many have tried to develop a theory that will enable us to explain, understand, and control the phenomenon of war. Historically, however, war has been an acceptable and tolerable way of handling disputes. The author discusses the different causes that have driven parties to war throughout history and suggests that ultimately it is a reasoned decision made by both parties. They believe they can achieve more by going to war than by remaining at peace.
Northrup, Terrell A. "The Dynamic of Identity in Personal and Social Conflict." Intractable Conflicts and Their Transformation , October 1989.
In this essay Northrup argues that identity is always an important factor in conflictual relationships, as threats to identity can cause conflict or contribute to its intractability. The essay gives a definition and a thorough analysis of the concept of identity. Primary Link
Guehenno, Jean-Marie. "The Impact of Globalization on Strategy." In Turbulent Peace: The Challenges of Managing International Conflict. Edited by Crocker, Chester A., Fen Osler Hampson and Pamela Aall, eds. Herndon, VA: USIP Press, July 1, 2001.
In virtue of globalization, the separation between domestic and international affairs is collapsing and local interests cannot be isolated from more global concerns. Globalization in this way changes the nature of threats to be faced and creates a certain instability in the international community. Civil conflict and international terrorism are two threats that stand out.
Fisher, Ronald J. The Social Psychology of Intergroup Conflict and International Conflict Resolution. New York, NY: Spring-Verlag, January 1990.
The Social Psychology of Inter-group and International Conflict Resolution explores the "causation, escalation, de-escalation, and resolution" of inter-group conflicts from the perspective of social-psychology. Primary Link
Nafziger, E.W., Frances Stewart and R. Vayrynen, eds. War, Hunger and Displacement: The Origin of Humanitarian Emergencies--Volume One: Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
The first volume of this work offers a collection of essays that explain the economic, political, and environmental factors that lead to international emergencies.
Cashman, Greg. What Causes War?: An Introduction to Theories of International Conflict. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, December 1, 1999.
This book contains a theoretical analysis of the causes of war and international conflict. It contains a review of the literature on the topic and includes multiple schools of thought.
Examples Illustrating this Topic:
Online (Web) Sources
Karl, Terry. "Alarms and Responses: A Comparative Study of Contemporary International Efforts to Anticipate and Prevent Violent Conflicts - The Case of El Salvador." Conflict Early Warning Systems (CEWS).
Available at: Primary Link
This essay gives a narrative account of the El Salvador conflict. It details the causes of the civil war, and gives specifics about the peace process. Furthermore, this essay explains why this conflict could have been predicted, and how timely intervention could have lessened or even prevented its occurrence.
Prendergast, John. Building for Peace in the Horn of Africa: Diplomacy and Beyond.
Available at: http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr990628.html
This USIP report reviews thematically the causes of conflicts in the Horn of Africa region, analyzes current efforts at resolving these wars, and provides an alternative framework of engagement that goes beyond diplomacy and is aimed at building the institutional basis for future peace.
Weiss, Joshua N. "Disastrous Balancing Act: The Beginning of Cambodia's Misery." Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution, Vol. 1, No. 1 , March 1998
Available at: http://www.trinstitute.org/ojpcr/1-1weiss.htm
The purpose of this paper is to seek to explain how the beginning of the Cambodian conflict under Prince Norodom Sihanouk set the stage for some of the worst mass violence the world ever witnessed -- that of the Khmer Rouge (KR) era. Throughout the course of this paper critical questions will be addressed, in hopes of gaining an understanding of how intractable conflicts begin and sustain themselves over long periods of time.
Homer-Dixon, Thomas and Valerie Percival. "Environmental Scarcity and Violent Conflict: The Case of Rwanda." ,
Available at: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/pcs/eps/rwanda/rwanda1.htm
A case study of environmental factors that lead to civil war in Rwanda.
"Moldova Narrative: Origins and Background Conditions of the Moldova / Niester Conflict." Conflict Early Warning Systems (CEWS), 1900.
Available at: http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/ir/cews/database/Moldova/moldova.pdf
This essays offers insights into the Moldova Niester conflict by: providing historical facts about the area; explaining the multi-dimensional cultural and social aspects of the conflict; and detailing the emergence of the conflict following independence from Soviet Russia.
Padilla, Luis Alberto. "Prevention Successes and Failures: Peace-making and Conflict Transformation in Guatemala." Conflict Early Warning Systems (CEWS), 1900.
Available at: Primary Link
This essay examines the causes of the conflict in Guatemala, and details the subsequent peace process. It also looks at factors associated with this conflict that can be used to better understand how conflicts can be prevented or transformed.
Havermans, Jos. "Rwanda: Rwandan Crisis Lingers on." , 1999
Available at: Primary Link
This is an article about the on going conflicts in Rwanda.
Boutwell, Jeffrey and Thomas Homer-Dixon. The Project on Environmental Scarcities, State Capacity, and Civil Violence. Peace & Conflict Studies Program at the University of Toronto.
Available at: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/pcs/state.htm
Project examines the linkages between weak states, civil wars, and resource scarcity. Finds that most problems revolve around elite control over scarce resources not scarcity itself as a direct causal variable.
Offline (Print) Sources
Ganguly, Sumit. "Explaining the Kashmir Insurgency: Political Mobilization and Institutional Decay." International Security 21:2, 1996.
This article provides a detailed account of the historical origins of the insurgency among parties to the Kashmir conflict between Indian and Pakistani ethno-nationalist factions. The author considers some general explanations of ethnic conflict and others of the Kashmir conflict in particular. Then the author offers an alternative explanation, which accounts for the outbreak of insurgency as well as its timing. This theory contends that the interlinked forces of political mobilization and institutional decay best explain the insurgency in Kashmir.
Starr, Harvey, ed. Understanding and Management of Global Violence: New Approaches to Theory and Research on Protracted Conflict. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, September 1999.
The essays in this edited volume approach social conflict through the study of "protracted conflict", or conflicts that are long-term and permeate all aspects of society. The work attempts to understand contemporary global politics and conflict by looking across levels of analysis, from international, to transnational to domestic behavior. The approach is grounded in two-level analysis, focusing on the analysis of crisis and the nature of identity groups and enduring rivalries. Included are examinations of Israel, the Palestinians, and Lebanon; the Philippines, Nicaragua; Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan; and Northern Ireland.
Cavanaugh, Kathleen A. "Understanding Protracted Social Conflict: A Basic Needs Approach." In Reconcilable Differences: Turning Points in Ethnopolitical Conflict. Edited by Irvin, Cynthia L. and Sean Byrne, eds. West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press, Inc., 2000.
According to a needs-based approach to conflict analysis and resolution, conflict is rooted in the denial of basic human needs such as identity-recognition and security. The author applies such an approach to the Northern Ireland case and suggests that unmet needs have contributed to the sociopolitical instability of the region since 1968.
Stewart, Frances, R. Vayrynen and E.W. Nafziger, eds. War, Hunger and Displacement: The Origin of Humanitarian Emergencies--Volume Two: Case Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
The second volume of this work presents in-depth case studies of thirteen conflicts that occurred as a result of political or economic weakness within a state.
Audiovisual Materials on this Topic:
Online (Web) Sources
The Mideast: A Century of ConflictPart 1: Theodor Herzl and the First Zionist Congress. NPR. September 30, 2002.
Available at: http://www.npr.org/news/specials/mideast/history/history1.html
This audio clip discusses the initial proposition by Theodor Herzl to create a Jewish state. The political movement that was created to help pursue the Jewish state was Zionism.
The Mideast: A Century of ConflictPart 2: The Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate. NPR. October 1, 2002.
Available at: http://www.npr.org/news/specials/mideast/history/index.html
This audio clip discusses the creation of Israel under British control in Palestine. Violence broke out between the Zionist settlers and the indigenous Palestinian Arabs from the very beginning.
Offline (Print) Sources
A Republic Gone Mad: Rwanda 1894-1994. Directed and/or Produced by: de Heusch, Luc and Kathleen de Bethune. First Run Icarus Films. 1996.
This film delves into the history of Rwanda to tell the story of how colonization impacted ethnic relations between the Hutu and Tutsi. Primary Link
Daresalam / Let There Be Peace. Directed and/or Produced by: Coelo, Issa Serge . California Newsreel. 2000.
By focusing on a number of post-colonial Africa civil wars, this film elicits the core causes associated with them. Primary Link
Iran, Veiled Appearances. Directed and/or Produced by: Michel, Thierry. First Run Icarus Films. 2002.
This film depicts various members of the Iranian community as they relate their insights and stories concerning the conflict between extreme fundamentalists and young people, who are pushing for social change. Primary Link
Yugoslavia: Origins of a War . Directed and/or Produced by: Talczewski, Christophe. First Run Icarus Films. 1992.
This film highlights historical factors and key issues associated with conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. Primary Link