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Conflict Processes
Dr. Krista WiegandUniversity of Tennessee
What is Conflict Processes?
Also known as conflict managementNOT the same as security studiesNOT the same as peace studiesMore quantitative research, but also includes qualitative research methods
Security Studies
Strategic studies, military studiesFocus on military threats, use of force, and warNuclear weapons, arms races, nuclear proliferation, disarmamentAlliance, rivalry, security dilemmaDeterrence, military technology, offense-defenseGeopolitics, grand strategy, military-civilian relations, military strategy and doctrine
Peace Studies
Started out examining causes of warFocus is more on positive peace, rather than negative peace – JohanGaltung– not just absence of conflictEmphasis on norms of violence, peace, international law,justice, human rightsRooted in non-violence as means to resolve disputes, seek justiceMore liberal, critical, and radical views about peace – pacifism, peace activism in the classroom & in researchMore theoretical, less empiricalIncludes IR, but also other fields of study – anthropology, history, international law, sociology, philosophy, theology, etc.
Conflict Processes
First wave of peace studies, but peace studiesmoved awayfrom scientific studyPatterns of behavior in international disputes and conflicts – mostly about the causes of war or political violenceScientific study of war – empirical patterns, trends, explanationsQuincy Wright (political science), Lewis Richardson (mathematics), J. David Singer (political science) – patterns of conflictIncreased emphasis on conflict management
Types of Armed Conflict
Internal armed conflict – civil warsInternationalized internal armed conflictInterstate armed conflictExtrasystemicarmed conflictAlso: individual and group level political violence: assassinations/coupd’tat, terrorism, insurgency, violent protests/demonstrations, rebellions, revolutions
Trends in Armed Conflict
Post-Cold war – countries are cycling in and out of recurring conflict – more frequent occurrenceDecline in interstate conflicts since 2003Civil wars more commonRecurrent conflicts are more common than onset of new conflictsConflicts that end are more likely to recurOverall, number of armed conflicts worldwide has leveled off, but not necessarily declined
Stages ofconflict process
Prevention/causes/onset/escalation of conflictManagementResolution/settlementPost-conflict/peace-keepingPeacebuilding
Conflict Management
Focus on how to deal with severity and frequency of international disputes, civil wars, armed conflictsNegotiation, mediation, interstate bargainingEmphasis on rationalist bargaining modelGrowth of quantitative data sets about civil wars, mediation, interstate disputes and wars1990s-2000s – huge increase in focus on conflict management of armedconflictStudy of the strategy of peaceful attempts to resolve contentious issues
Armed Conflict
Armed conflict =at least 25 battle related deaths in any given yearWar = at least 1,000 battle deaths overallUCDP/PRIO/COW datasetsStudy of causes, escalation, duration, termination of war and conflictStudy of disputes turning into armed conflict
2 approaches to teaching
2 distinct strategies of teaching conflict processes:1) Causes/onset of armed conflictFocus on factors/independent variables that explain conflict/political violence – Why do wars/armed conflict/political violence occur?2) Conflict managementFocus on dependent variables that are explained by factors in IR – Which factors determine the success of conflict management?
Causes of War
Structure of the international system – power politics, realism, polarity, balance of powerAnarchy, arms races, security dilemmaAlliances – balancing,bandwagoningTerritorial & issue related disputes – issues approach, territorial and maritime disputes, contentious issuesSteps to war – contiguity, rivalry, territorial disputes, issues approachRivalry – types of rivalries, duration, evolution, termination of rivalryDemocratic peace – regime type, normative & structural factors of democratic regimes, Kantian peaceEconomics – capitalism & war/peace, interdependence, international trade, sanctions, and war
Causes of War
Domestic politics – domestic audience costs, leader survival, political accountability, two-level gameMisperceptions – under/over-estimations of capabilities, intentions, resolve, etc., psychological factorsCrisis bargaining & coercive diplomacy – bargaining model, rationality, crises, diplomacyConventional deterrence – deterrence strategy, conventional weaponsNuclear weapons & deterrence – nuclear proliferation, MAD, realismDiversionary use of force – diversionary war, domestic politics, rally around the flagCivil wars & ethnic conflict – ethnic war, genocide, conflict resolution, partition, peacekeeping
Example: Dangerous Dyads (Bremer)
Most important factors of war:ContiguityAbsence of allianceAbsence of advanced economyAbsence of democracyAbsence of overwhelming power preponderanceMajor power
Conflict Management
Types of settlementBilateral negotiationsNon-binding third party methods - mediation,conciliationLegal, binding third party methods – arbitration, adjudicationSuccess of settlement attemptsStudy of termination, duration, intensity of armed conflictThird party intervention – military, humanitarianPeacekeepingPeacebuildingHumanitarianaid
Conflict Process
Useful to teach scientificapproachin social science – theory building, hypotheses, variables, measurement, operationalization, testing theory, deduction vs. induction,data sets, data analysis, findingsStudents can select different outcomes to explain – onset, escalation, duration, intensity, termination of armed conflict; settlement attempts, conflict management success
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Conflict Processes - facdis.wvu.edu