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The changing nature of conflict and conflict management

Bloomfield, D. and Reilly, B. (1998) The changing nature of conflict and conflict management. In: Harris, Peter and Reilly, Ben, (eds.) Democracy and deep-rooted conflict: options for negotiators. International IDEA, Stockholm. Sweden, pp. 7-28.

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In recent years a new type of conflict has come increasingly to the fore: conflict that takes place within and across states, or intra-state conflict, in the form of civil wars, armed insurrections, violent secessionist movements and other domestic
warfare. The change has been dramatic: in the last three years, for example, every major armed conflict originated at the domestic level within a state, rather than between states. Two powerful elements often combine in such conflicts. One is identity: the mobilization of people in communal identity groups based on race, religion, culture, language, and so on. The other is distribution: the means of sharing the economic, social and political resources within a society. Where perceived imbalance in distribution coincides with identity differences (where, for example, one religious group is deprived of certain resources available to others) we have the potential for conflict. It is this combination of potent identity-based factors with wider perceptions of economic and social injustice that often fuels what we call “deeprooted conflict”.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs
Publisher: International IDEA
Copyright: © International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, (International IDEA)1998
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