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Crisis managers but not conflict resolvers: Mediating ethnic intrastate conflict in Africa


Instability and conflict within African countries are on the rise. What are the best means for third parties to promote short-term crisis management and long-term conflict resolution in these situations? Often, these two tasks are at odds with one another, and certain approaches to intervention may be more or less effective. This study grapples with these issues by focusing on one particularly difficult set of cases—violent crises that are rooted in ethnic divisions and are part of protracted conflicts in Africa during the post-Cold War era—and one approach to intervention—mediation. We also view mediation as a multidimensional strategic process, and we test a series of hypotheses linking specific mediation styles to various crisis outcomes. The data and analyses reported in this study grew out of a new project named Mediating Intrastate Crises that is focused on uncovering the dynamics of successful mediation efforts during crisis situations at the intrastate level, which are important but understudied phenomena. Our findings indicate that mediators are highly effective at managing crises in the short term, particularly when they adopt a more intrusive approach. However, they have insignificant effects on long-term conflict resolution, showing little ability to stem the tide of recurrent violence.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Quinn, David, and Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Pelin Eralp, Victor Asal, Theodore McLauchlin. 2013. "Crisis managers but not conflict resolvers: Mediating ethnic intrastate conflict in Africa." Conflict Management and Peace Science (July): 1-20. http://cmp.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/07/10/0738894213491352.full.p…

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