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Managing Intercollective Conflict

Prevailing Structures & Global Challenges

by Anna J. Borgeryd

Paperback e-Book PDF
Institution: Umeå University
Advisor(s): Jan Engberg
Degree: Ph.D., Political Science
Year: 1999
Volume: 376 pages
ISBN-10: 1581120435
ISBN-13: 9781581120431


How does the state system measure up to today's realitites when it comes to managing conflict? To what extent are efforts to manage conflict successful, and for whom?

Prevailing structures designed to deal with conflict between collectives -- sovereign states supported by militaries, military industry, and the United Nations -- operate mainly on principles that are hundreds of years old. Conditions for conflict and its management have changed radically since this state system was constructed. There is a risk that institutional inertia produces growing disparity between real-world problems and the institutions that are supposed to manage them.

Realism and legalism are found to form a double idological support for the state system. The study compares the state system's realist and legalist premises to different cases of post cold war intercollective conflict: the 1990-91 Gulf War, the 1990-95 break-up of Yugoslavia, and the 1992 Los Angeles riots. These cases present important challenges to the pravailing system's premises -- mismatches between idea and reality that are clearly connected to failures in conflict management. In addition, findings suggest that the state system not only fails to deal with important aspects of modern-day conflict, but that it increasingly produces problems that it cannot manage. This suggests that the prevailing state system is not in harmony with crucial conflict-related aspects of global impact, indicating a serious systemic problem.