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In This Article Conflict Management

  • Introduction
  • Journals
  • Handbooks
  • Regional Mechanisms
  • National and Traditional Mechanisms
  • United Nations and Conflict Management
  • Issue-Based Conflict Management

International Relations Conflict Management
by
Benita Sumita

Introduction

Any attempt to define conflict management is not an easy feat. It is a dynamic concept with blurry boundaries. In its most simple form, as Dennis Sandole says, conflict management is about ways in which parties try to deal with conflict. The simplistic view of conflict management obscures its processual and power dynamisms. Conflict management is not only about dealing with the conflict; it denotes the management of conflict in violent or competitive and nonviolent or cooperative ways. Today the field is burgeoning with institutions, organizations—private, multilateral—and individual consultants who specialize in managing conflicts. Literature on conflict management covers a wide territory. Means and measures of how to deal with conflict date back to the biblical days. However, moving out of a religious framework, conflict management also has roots spanning from interpersonal skills to organizational measures, and industrial to international relations. This bibliography will focus on conflict management limited to international relations. This introduction would be incomplete if the tension between conflict resolution, conflict transformation, and conflict management is not addressed. There is constant tension and debate about the thin line that separates the three concepts. Peace and conflict studies scholars (Ramsbotham, Woodhouse and Miall, and others) prefer conflict resolution as a more comprehensive, encompassing conflict management. Advocates of conflict resolution criticize conflict management as a top-down interventionist mechanism that seeks to control a conflict more than address its root causes. Conflict resolution indicates a more reconciliatory approach involving the “joint participation of the [conflicting] parties in reaching the outcome” (Laue) by addressing the roots of the conflict. On the other hand, some literature use the terms interchangeably. Meanwhile, conflict transformation is a newer concept in the field that seeks to address the conflict over time as a process (Miall). It is difficult to draw boundaries around each of these concepts. There are areas that might overlap, such as mechanisms used. However, due to limitations of space, the conceptual debate will have to be cut short. This bibliography will primarily focus on the literature on conflict management.

Journals

Anyone interested in conflict and peace studies has to be informed about the emerging ideas and developing research in the quite vast expanses of the field(s). The following journals are a good starting point. The Journal of Conflict Resolution and Journal of Peace Research are must-reads for students, scholars, and practitioners and policy makers in government and foreign affairs. These journals give a wider view through their interdisciplinary approach. Articles with scientific approaches can be found in journals such as Conflict Resolution Quarterly and Conflict Management and Peace Science. Journals focusing on specific conflict management techniques are also available, including the Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, Negotiation Journal, and International Studies Quarterly. Taking more diverse approaches to conflict management through teaching notes, simulations, research notes, and more is the International Journal of Conflict Management.

  • Conflict Management and Peace Science.

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    Associated with the Peace Science Society (international), this journal publishes articles that focus on the scientific study of peace and conflict. This peer-reviewed journal is limited to the topics of international conflict, arms races, foreign policy decision making, impact of international trade and game-theoretic approaches to conflict and cooperation.

  • Conflict Resolution Quarterly.

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    Focusing on the union of theory, research, and practice, the articles in this journal (formerly Mediation Quarterly) bring out theoretical considerations for practice and also research implications, in turn. In addition, this journal focuses on the role and impact of third parties in managing conflicts.

  • International Journal of Conflict Management.

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    This journal covers a wide range of issues in the field of conflict management. Articles include case studies, original empirical research, theoretical contributions, book reviews, research notes, simulations, and teaching notes.

  • International Studies Quarterly.

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    The official journal of the International Studies Association. This association, founded in 1959, focuses on twenty-three interest areas, including the English School, diplomatic studies, comparative interdisciplinary studies, and environmental studies. Articles that address any of the twenty-three areas target a wider readership.

  • Journal of Conflict Resolution.

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    Focusing primarily on international conflict, articles in this journal are interdisciplinary, combining social scientific research and theory on human conflict. It is abreast with research and theory in the field, giving thorough analysis and implications.

  • Journal of Peace Research.

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    Articles aim at unpacking some of the complex issues in the fields of peace and security. It is internationally peer-reviewed and published bimonthly. Some scholars tag the journal as having a positivist outlook, but the journal also provides space for other epistemologies.

  • Negotiation Journal.

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    Targeted at all readers interested in the art and science of negotiation, this journal publishes articles that analyze strategies and models with the aim to enhance and improve them.

  • Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations.

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    The official semiannual publication of the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations. Analytical articles are written by practitioners, experts in government and the private sector, and scholars of international relations.

LAST MODIFIED: 03/02/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199743292-0004

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