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Peace and Reconciliation Processes

John Darby

Subject Sociology » Social Movements, Sociology of War, Peace, and Conflict

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


The use of the term peace process may be recent, but the concept is as old as war. Sophisticated conventions on ceasefires and peace negotiations were already well established and accepted when the Iliad was composed. The negotiations preceding the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 had some resemblance to contemporary peace processes: they lasted for four years; the principal negotiators never met; and they adopted approaches similar to the “proximity talks” and shuttle diplomacy used at Dayton for Bosnia and in Northern Ireland, with the main parties separately quartered in Münster and Osnabrück. More than three centuries later, these techniques and approaches were formalized and designated as peace processes. Harold Saunders recounts how the term “negotiating process” was used by those working with Henry Kissinger in the Middle East in 1974. Eventually, finding the phrase too narrow, “we coined the phrase peace process’ to capture the experience of this series of mediated agreements embedded in a larger political process” (Crocker et al. 2001). The popularity of the term and the processes themselves increased markedly during the 1990s, reflecting an increase in both internal violence and internal settlements following the end of the Cold War. Fifty-six civil wars came to an end between 1989 and 2000 ( Wallensteen & Sollenberg 2001 ), although not all of these resulted from peace ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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