Negotiation and Mediation in the Hard(est) Cases

In: International Negotiation
Michael J. Butler Department of Political Science, Clark University 950 Main Street, Jefferson Academic Center 414, Worcester, MA 01610 USA

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In seeking a fuller understanding of the provision and effectiveness of negotiation and mediation, salient lessons can be gleaned from instances in which these processes seem unlikely to succeed or unlikely to be tried at all. Contributions to this special issue of International Negotiation purposefully avoid mining examples of success stories for correlates. The contributors have instead consciously identified and examined applications of negotiation and mediation in the hard(est) cases, with the objective of teasing out what shortcomings and even failures can tell us about the prospects of negotiation and mediation as practices of conflict management and resolution. Using the criteria discussed in this introductory article, this collection examines negotiation and mediation in international crises, intractable conflicts, civil wars, and other cases defined by complex contextual environments, actor configurations, and disputes – with the goal of revealing insights that can improve the effectiveness of negotiation and mediation in application.

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