Strategies of Intervention in Protracted Violent Conflicts by Civil Society Actors

TitleStrategies of Intervention in Protracted Violent Conflicts by Civil Society Actors
Publication TypeBook
Subtitle / Series TitleThe Example of Interventions in the Violent Conflicts in the Area of Former Yugoslavia, 1990 - 2002
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSchweitzer, C
Number of Pages403 pp.
Accession Number1407
Abstract

This thesis seeks to contribute to the understanding of conflict intervention in protracted violent conflicts by studying the activities of civil society actors in regard to the conflicts in what was Yugoslavia until 1991. A very broad understanding of 'intervention' is used for this purpose that includes all kinds of activities that relate to the conflicts. Based on a survey of activities in the period between 1990 and 2002, a framework for categorising and describing these interventions is applied according to basic functions in four 'grand strategies' of 'peace-making', 'peace-keeping', 'peace-building', and 'information, support, protest and advocacy', with a total list of about 230 instruments of conflict intervention identified.
The study concludes that civil society actors played three different basic roles: They complemented the work of state actors, they were the avant-garde for approaches, strategies and methods that later became 'mainstream' in conflict intervention, and in some cases, they were able to control or correct actions by governments through advocacy or direct action. The development of instruments of civil conflict transformation received a massive boost through this engagement in the 1990s.
The study supports the position taken recently by some researchers making comparative studies of cases of conflict intervention regarding the limited role played by dialogue and reconciliation work in regard to dealing with the overall conflicts: In spite of 'reconciliation' and inter-ethnic cooperation being at the core of the vast majority of all projects and programmes undertaken in the area, indicators of real impact regarding an overall positive change in society and prevention of future violence seem to be rather weak.
The study further observes that there was a social movement developed relating to former Yugoslavia in many Western countries that in a hitherto unknown way combined traditional methods of protest and advocacy with concrete work in the field.This thesis was submitted in partial fulfilment of the University's requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies, Coventry University, July 2009The thesis can be downloaded in full from the website of the Institute for Peace Work and Nonviolent Conflict Transformation (IFGK) - see link below.

URLhttp://www.ifgk.de/download/CSchweitzer_ThesisYU-final.pdf
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