Intractability is a controversial concept, which means different things to different people. Some people on the initial BI project team intensely dislike the term, as they saw it as too negative: intractable conflicts are impossible to resolve, they say, so people think they are not worth dealing with.
How do we face conflict? We can begin by understanding the anatomy of conflicts. In this lesson, students will learn to delve beneath a conflict’s episode to its roots, thereby understanding the layers of history, culture, interests, and values that push disputes into intractable conflicts with horrifying consequences.
This collection of essays offers a contemporary overview of approaches to international peacemaking. The end of the Cold War has changed the nature of international conflicts, creating new challenges for peacemaking. Initial essays explore this new context. Subsequent chapters describe different peacemaking techniques.
Given the complexity of intractable conflicts, the level of violence associated with them, and the dangers they pose, it is remarkable that so many political actors are prepared to intervene in these conflicts to transform them, settle them, or simply to ensure they do not become even more dangerous.
Mediation is a process of conflict management, related to but distinct from the parties’ own negotiations, where those in conflict seek the assistance of, or accept an offer of help from, an outsider (whether an individual, an organization, a group, or a state) to change their perceptions or behavior, and to do so without resorting to physical force or invoking the authority of law.