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The Slippery Slope to Genocide: Reducing Identity Conflicts and Preventing Mass Murder

Anstey, M A, Meerts, P W, Zartman, I W (eds.) (2011). New York NY, USA: Oxford. 432 pages.


    Genocide results from the culmination of conflicts over identity. A group of people that feels threatened by extinction resorts to genocide as a pathologically defensive reaction. This poses a security dilemma that can only be broken by quelling the feelings of threat and fear that prompt mass violence. In order to prevent genocide, it is essential to understand the internal dynamics of identity conflict. It is also important to intervene at the early stages of identity conflict; the parties involved require external help to ease tensions. In this volume, noted thinkers and practitioners of conflict management, who hail from ten different countries, present ideas on how to prevent identity issues from causing fear and escalating into genocide. They focus on measures for handling the internal dynamics of parties facing identity conflicts, as well as considerations for arranging external assistance. Contributors address the problem of outbidders, actors whose non-conciliatory attitudes put them in positions of leadership in their identity groups. Since political extremism and violence can signal resolve and commitment to a group cause, moderates give way to hardliners. Spoilers, who believe that peace undermines their interests and power, also play a key role in the dynamics of conflicts. Careful attention is necessary to select appropriate third parties who can pull conflicting parties off the course of conflict. The authors discuss the concepts and practices involved in changing structures and attitudes to ease tensions, as well as the measures interveners must take to work in the midst of conflicting groups.


    Part I. Introduction

    Chapter 1: The Problem: Preventing Identity Conflicts and Genocide Mark Anstey and I. William Zartman

    Chapter 2: The Roots and Prevention of Genocide and Related Mass Violence Ervin Staub

    Part II. Internal Dynamics: The Parties Chapter 3: The Identity Trap: Managing Paradox in Crisis Bargaining William A. Donohue

    Chapter 4: The Identity Narratives Jesús Romero-Trillo

    Chapter 5: Negotiating Memories and Justice in the Philippines Ariel Macaspac Penetrante

    Chapter 6: Diasporas and the Politics of Identity in International Negotiations Fen Osler Hampson

    Chapter 7: Outbidding and the Decision to Negotiate Jannie Liljia

    Chapter 8: The Insides of Identity and Intragroup Conflict Jay Rothman

    Chapter 9: Handling Spoilers and the Prospect of Violence Marie-Joëlle Zahar

    Part III. Intervention Dynamics: The Mediator

    Chapter 10: Mediation and Identity Conflicts Joshua Smilovitz

    Chapter 11: The Challenge of Partnerism Moty Cristal

    Chapter 12: Conditions for Internal Conflict Resolution through External Intervention Frank Pfetsch

    Chapter 13: Who Gets What in Peace Agreements? David Cunningham

    Chapter 14: Evolving International Law of Intervention and Prevention Franz Cede, University of Budapest

    Chapter 15: The International Community Response Peter Wallensteen, Frida Möller, and Erik Melander

    Chapter 16: OSCE HCNM: Strategies of the Legitimate Intervener in Internal Identity Conflicts Fedor Meerts and Tassos Coulaloglou

    Chapter 17: Negotiating Out of Conflict: External Interventions in Africa Mark Anstey

    Part IV. Conclusions

    Chapter 18: Lessons for Theory I. William Zartman and Mark Anstey

    Chapter 19:Lessons for Practice Mart Anstey and Paul Meerts

    About the Editors

    I. William Zartman is Jacob Blaustein Professor Emeritus at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington DC. His books include Cowardly Lions: Missed Opportunities to Prevent Deadly Conflict and State Collapse and Negotiation and Conflict Management.

    Mark Anstey is Emeritus Professor at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and was a professor with Michigan State University in Dubai from 2008 to 2011. He has also taught in several South African universities. Involved in promoting peace in South Africa, he served as Director of Monitoring (Eastern Cape) for the Independent Electoral Commission in the country's historic 1994 elections.

    Paul Meerts is Advisor to the Director of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations at Clingendael. He is a visiting professor at the College of Europe (Bruges), the University of Economics (Prague), and the UNESCO Institute for Water Education (Delft).

    All three editors are on the Steering Committee for the Processes of International Negotiation Network at the International Institute for Applied Systems