Chapter 6: Conflict resolution in civil wars

Recurrence of civil war

There is an increasingly complex literature on the issue of recurrence of civil war. A good overview of the literature and the discussions is provided in: Edward Newman and Karl DeRouen, Jr. (eds.) 2014. Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars. New York and Abingdon: Routledge.

Also highly useful is the recent volume by T. David Mason and Sara McLaughlin Mitchell (eds.) 2023. What Do We Know About Civil Wars? Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. It includes articles both on the origins and ending of wars. Thus, it goes into matters of third-party intervention and mediation, complementing what is presented in Chapter 6 of Understanding Conflict Resolution.

For an interesting way to investigate the dynamics of war recurrence, consult Barbara F. Walter 2004. ‘Does Conflict Beget Conflict? Explaining Recurring Civil War’, Journal of Peace Research, 41 (3): 371–88. In a challenging way, Walter has developed this into an analysis of present-day United States: Barbara F. Walter 2022. How Civil Wars Start and How to Stop Them. Penguin Random House, UK.

Peace after civil war

The systematic literature on the possibilities of peace after civil wars is more limited. The term ‘peacebuilding’ has primarily been used for the conditions after civil war, of the type described in Chapter 6. There are comparatively few studies that cover a statistically significant number of cases of peacebuilding, as the research tradition has a stronger focus on individual cases. The term ‘quality peace’ not only aims at comparing negotiated settlements to victory consolidation, but also to provide a framework for the analysis of comparable cases. In this vein, see Madhav Joshi and Peter Wallensteen (eds.) 2018. Understanding Quality Peace. Peacebuilding After Civil War. London: Routledge.

For more general understanding of peace agreements and their implementation, the presentation of the Peace Accords Matrix is a valuable tool. It is introduced in M. Joshi and J. Darby 2013. ‘Introducing the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM): A Database of Comprehensive Peace Agreements and Their Implementation, 1989–2007’, Peacebuilding, 1 (2): 256–74.