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CHAP T E R 1 Introduction to Conflict Resolution: Concepts and Definitions In this third edition of our book we bring the survey of the conflict resolution field up to date at the beginning of the second decade of the twenty-first century. Conflict resolution as a defined specialist field came of age in the post-Cold War era. It also found itself face to face with fundamental new challenges, many of which have come into even sharper focus since the first and second editions of this book. Why a Third Edition? The first edition of the book (1999) was written at a time when, despite setbacks, conflict resolution approaches in peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding were widely seen for the first time to be central in global politics in the…show more content…
Institutions to study the field were established, and their number rapidly increased. The field developed its own subdivisions, with different groups studying international crises, internal wars, social conflicts and approaches ranging from negotiation and mediation to experimental games. By the 1980s, conflict resolution ideas were increasingly making a difference in real conflicts. In South Africa, for example, the Centre for Intergroup Studies was applying the approaches that had emerged in the field to the developing confrontation between apartheid and its challengers, with impressive results. In the Middle East, a peace process was getting under way in which negotiators on both sides had gained experience both of each other and of conflict resolution through problem-solving workshops. In Northern Ireland, groups inspired by the new approach had set up community relations initiatives that were not only reaching across community divides but were also becoming an accepted responsibility of local government. In war-torn regions of Africa and South-East Asia, development workers and humanitarian agencies were seeing the need to take account of conflict and conflict resolution as an integral part of their activities. By the closing years of the Cold War, the climate for conflict resolution was changing radically. With relations between the superpowers improving, the ideological and military competition that had fuelled many regional conflicts was fading away. Protracted

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