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Mediation

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Mediation – Its Potential And Its Limits: Developing An Effective Discourse On The Research And Practice Of Peacemaking, Dennis C. Jett Apr 2013

Mediation – Its Potential And Its Limits: Developing An Effective Discourse On The Research And Practice Of Peacemaking, Dennis C. Jett

Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs

This article looks at the various contributions to this issue of the Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs. The contributors have analyzed the potential and limits of mediation, but have focused on a number of different aspects of that process. The analytic research relevant to conflict situations will be most useful, however, if the recommendations offered for how to bring conflicts to an end can actually be of use to practitioners in the field. The approach of this article is therefore to consider how policymakers might employ these recommendations as they pursue the goal of peace. It also discusses ...


Ethnic Conflict: An Organizational Perspective, Victor Asal, Jonathan Wilkenfeld Apr 2013

Ethnic Conflict: An Organizational Perspective, Victor Asal, Jonathan Wilkenfeld

Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs

To talk about the behavior of others is to generalize especially if that behavior is perceived to be negative. As researchers who have studied ethnic discrimination and ethnic conflict for close to two decades, we have noticed, anecdotally at least, that this penchant for generalization is rampant in discussions of ethnic politics. Journalists and academics tend to talk about one or another ethnic group’s involvement in violence without specifying a political organizational agent. This kind of generalization is a serious obstacle to understanding conflicts and identifying solutions because it prevents policymakers and academics from getting at the messy reality ...


When States Mediate, Molly M. Melin Apr 2013

When States Mediate, Molly M. Melin

Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs

Militarized conflict is one of the most devastating of all human activities. The international community’s response to conflict occurrence can significantly affect the number of casualties, the extent of resulting devastation and even the outcome of the conflict. State responses range from conflict management, whereby third parties actively engage in resolving the conflict; joining, whereby states become an additional disputant; or remaining uninvolved. One of the most common active third-party responses is to act as a mediator, a role using consensual, nonbinding and nonviolent means of conflict management and resolution. This paper explores the policy of state-led mediation, its ...


The Politics Of International Arbitration And Adjudication, Stephen E. Gent Apr 2013

The Politics Of International Arbitration And Adjudication, Stephen E. Gent

Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs

Arbitration and adjudication have proven to be effective means of producing long-lasting settlements on contentious issues, but states are generally reluctant to use such legal forms of dispute resolution, especially in resolving issues of national security. To understand when policymakers can and should promote the use of legal mechanisms, they need to understand the political reasons behind the reluctance of states to use these forums. This essay identifies five factors that significantly influence the willingness of states to relinquish decision control and pursue arbitration or adjudication: third-party bias, salience, uncertainty, bargaining power, and armed conflict. To promote the use of ...


Using The Right Tool For The Job: Mediator Leverage And Conflict Resolution, Kyle Beardsley Apr 2013

Using The Right Tool For The Job: Mediator Leverage And Conflict Resolution, Kyle Beardsley

Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs

In international dispute mediation, a one-size-fits-all view of mediation may actually inhibit effective conflict resolution. Mediators must especially tailor the level of leverage to the needs of the situation. This essay first considers existing studies that have found both potential benefits and risks of heavy-handed third-party involvement as a conflict-management strategy. It then considers a few illustrative cases to demonstrate the importance of making sure that the tools of mediation fit the context. Finally, it concludes with a discussion of how sustained post-conflict peacekeeping and peacebuilding can reduce the risks of leverage in mediation.


Who Should Be At The Table?: Veto Players And Peace Processes In Civil War, David E. Cunningham Apr 2013

Who Should Be At The Table?: Veto Players And Peace Processes In Civil War, David E. Cunningham

Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs

Civil wars contain a set of actors that have the ability to block settlement and continue the war on their own. When they contain more “veto players,” conflicts are much longer and negotiations are more likely to break down. The rate of success of international efforts to resolve multi-party civil wars is much lower than when there is only one rebel group fighting the government. This article discusses implications for peacemakers designing responses to conflicts with multiple veto players. Negotiations in these conflicts are most likely to lead to a peace agreement that successfully ends the war if they include ...


Deceptive Results: Why Mediation Appears To Fail But Actually Succeeds, Scott Sigmund Gartner Apr 2013

Deceptive Results: Why Mediation Appears To Fail But Actually Succeeds, Scott Sigmund Gartner

Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs

International disputes receiving third-party mediation are less likely to result in peace treaties than those negotiated bilaterally between the disputants. When belligerents do settle, mediated agreements are more likely to fail. Is mediation detrimental to conflict resolution? No. Third-party mediation represents a highly effective, but costly, means of peacemaking. Disputants recognize its costs and only employ mediation when they are unable to resolve a conflict between themselves, creating a “selection effect.” As a result, mediators are selected for the toughest cases – those least likely to end peacefully and mostly likely to result in fragile agreements. When the difficulty of resolving ...


Research On Bias In Mediation: Policy Implications, Isak Svensson Apr 2013

Research On Bias In Mediation: Policy Implications, Isak Svensson

Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs

One of the most important and disputed questions within the field of international mediation concerns the issue of bias. The question of bias cuts to the core of what mediation is and the ways in which mediators can help the parties reach peace. Focusing on research on the role of neutrality and bias in international peace diplomacy in civil wars, this article draws out the policy implications of my own empirically-based work on the role of bias in the mediation of internal armed conflicts. This article suggests that neutrality should not be part of the definition of mediators, and that ...


The Lack Of Coordination In Diplomatic Peacemaking, Birger Heldt Apr 2013

The Lack Of Coordination In Diplomatic Peacemaking, Birger Heldt

Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs

The increased number of peacemaking actors during the past twenty years is accompanied by an increased amount of peacemaking, but also a low success rate. This article focuses on recent emerging conflicts. It finds that peacemaking is prevalent, but is often not coordinated with regard to choice of tools (mediation, arbitration, etc.), or the agenda or the issues of the talks. This lack of coordination has for many years been recognized as detrimental and may partly explain the low success rate. The article suggests that policymakers need to have a long-term strategy to address the coordination problem, part of which ...


Translating Scholarship Into Policy, Scott Sigmund Gartner, Amy C. Gaudion Apr 2013

Translating Scholarship Into Policy, Scott Sigmund Gartner, Amy C. Gaudion

Penn State Journal of Law & International Affairs

There is an ever widening gap between conflict resolution policy makers and scholars—a tragedy given practitioners’ dire need for new ideas to help resolve deadly conflicts and the growing knowledge researchers have to share. Research tends to swing like a pendulum between analytic and rigorous methods and accessible and relevant approaches. We reject this tradeoff. We believe that research can be simultaneously rigorous and relevant, and analytic and accessible. Given the devastating loss of life associated with armed conflict, the need for translating research results into policy prescriptions is especially strong in peacemaking. The goal of this issue of ...