Paradigms of Political Mythologies and Perspectives of Reconciliation in the Case of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

in International Negotiation
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Abstract

It is widely held that reconciliation follows conflict resolution. However, in the case of “frozen” conflicts, where the negotiation process is protracted and reconciliation is postponed for years, negative transformations take root. In this respect, attention to the past cannot be overestimated. How the past is framed in the domestic public sphere is an indicator of potential positive or negative transformation. By analyzing the frames of political mythology, the elements of ethnic identity and the historicisms based on divergent narratives of the political discourse in rivaling Armenia and Azerbaijan, this article argues that discourse transformation is vital to a successful reconciliation process where the role of mid-level leaders is crucial. While political mythology forces events by creating a context for negative transformation of the conflict, peacebuilding can support a protracted pre-settlement phase (’no peace, no war’) and can also facilitate the conflict settlement process through positive transformation. In order to cope with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, at least in its relational aspect, the whole discourse infrastructure must be transformed. For this to happen, peacebuilding must be linked to reconciliation goals.

International Negotiation

A Journal of Theory and Practice

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