This book draws upon and engages with research from the wide range of subfields that have addressed the issues of escalation and protraction in violent conflict, focusing on the dynamics of conflict as such.
The volume rethinks conflict processes in depth through crucial parameters such as the role of emotions, external actors, new social media, religious actors, modern subjectivity formation, memory, and conflict expertise. Thereby, it highlights the multiplicity of triggers for escalation and the drivers of protraction, while also offering innovative perspectives on conflict resolution. The two main parts of the book cover escalation and protraction respectively, with each chapter spelling out the practical implications of the research presented with regard to conflict resolution. A final section will address and engage dynamisms between practitioners and academics in the field.
The part on escalation includes chapters on the crisis in Burundi with a focus on the possibilities for the international community to influence escalation, on violence/non-violence pathways for popular uprising during the phase of escalation; and two chapters with the Syrian conflict as case, one on the role of the Ulama in escalation as well as de-escalation, and another on grassroots videos. The part on protraction opens with a third chapter on Syria, now turning to the role of memory, archives and transitional justice as a key to the future of the conflict. The theme of collective memory is continued in the next chapter, where Bhutan is offered as a productive case for looking at the effects of silence on conflict protraction and transformation. A chapter on Northern Ireland links the issue of dealing with the past to problems of diplomatic negotiation and the formation of agreements. The final chapter in this section distills the question of when ‘third parties’ actually help to end a conflict and when they contribute to protraction. The section on academic and practical knowledge includes chapters on art and memory work – drawing from these broader implications for the general scholar/practitioner relationship. The volume is tightly integrated with a general introduction and conclusion by the editors, as well as three theoretical chapters on conflict, violence, emotions and modern subjectivity. The book is original both in the range of significant phenomena (emotion, memory, expertise, external actors, media etc.) used as lenses to understand escalation and protraction and in the angle it takes on conflict and conflict resolution.
This work will be of much interest to students of conflict resolution, peace studies, war and conflict studies, security studies and international relations, in general.