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The Economic Roots of Conflict and Cooperation in Africa explores how the development strategies of African nations shape the nature and dynamics of inter-group violence. The overview chapter assesses development doctrines, patterns of development, and levels and nature of violence in both North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Physical Infrastructure Development addresses the key challenges of balancing economic growth, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection in the development of major physical infrastructure, ranging from transport to energy. Cultural Change and Persistence addresses the complex challenge of pursuing development while safeguarding cherished aspects of deeply-rooted cultural practices and beliefs. Through cases from multiple world regions, the authors tackle the thorny problem of how to define and identify cultural aspects worthy of persistence.

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Bush administration, politics and ideology routinely trumped scientific knowledge in making environmental policy. Data were falsified, reports were edited selectively, and scientists were censored. The Obama administration has pledged to restore science to the policy making process. Humans are plagued by shortsighted thinking, preferring to put off work on complex, deep-seated, or difficult problems in favor of quick-fix solutions to immediate needs.

When short-term thinking is applied to economic development, especially in fragile nations, the results—corruption, waste, and faulty planning—are often disastrous. Lasswell, the dominant figure in political psychology in the mid-twentieth-century. The Guide to Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy is a comprehensive presentation of definitions, philosophies, policies, models, and analyses of global environmental and developmental issues.

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  • New geopolitical and economic conditions have created a mix of competition, reluctant collaboration, and legal, political, economic and ideological wrangling. Latent conflicts may escalate to open conflicts of various intensities, these levels may eventually de-escalate, reach a settlement and be followed by a re-stabilization phase. We can thus find intra-state conflicts at all these various stages, based on the degree of visible coercion or physical force through which conflict is pursued.

    The following typology describes a continuum of conflict stages. Legal, political and policy disputes follow accepted rules and procedures. Disputes may become major controversies that receive wide public attention, cause contentious debate, and raise the political temperature, but they operate through existing institutional processes. Non-violent public demonstrations are an example, for they are not physically coercive and ordinarily represent legitimate political activity, even though they may exhibit some excesses.

    Thus, actions harmful to others are taken unilaterally by the most powerful interests in the absence of agreed procedures.

    Development strategies and inter-group violence: insights on conflict-sensitive development

    But government actions may deny specific groups the ability to carry on political action by closing their offices, media censorship, bans, outlawing gatherings and demonstrations, and arbitrary arrests, harassment, or deportations. Intense disputes suggest that existing institutions and processes for handling conflict are under strain or threatened.

    Political confrontations may occur in the form of walkouts, boycotts, sit-ins, mass violent demonstrations and other irregular political activity that reflects the absence or deterioration of regular political and policymaking processes. These situations often elicit special, ad hoc, extra-institutional channels for negotiations. Conflicts change greatly as they move through these stages.

    The more hostile and lasting the conflict becomes, new stakes are created in the conduct of the conflict itself. The issues in dispute change, protagonists adopt differing loyalties and identities based on changing interests, and additional parties may enter the fray. Intra-state conflicts are often classified in terms of handy labels such as the identities 10 Differing stages of conflict, such as emergence, escalation, de-escalation, re construction, and reconciliation, have been adopted as an organizing framework by recent conflict textbooks Kriesberg ; Miall et al. But because of the changes that occur in many of these aspects, these single labels can be very misleading descriptors of a conflict.

    The same can be said of classifying conflicts by simply quantitative measures.


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    A lower number of deaths is classified as intermediate armed conflict. Rather than defining levels of conflict simply in terms of such numerical levels, it is more fruitful for policy purposes to classify the stages of intra-state conflicts in terms of the basic relationships and interactions between group interests in a society, as we do above. The policy utility of distinguishing such stages is that they generally call for very different kinds of interventions. Some levels of conflict are more amenable to outside influence than others.

    Generally, the greater the level of open physical hostility between major organized interests, and the more sustained its use, the more difficult it is to reduce a conflict or keep it from continuing, other things being equal. As discussed below, these measures might include democratization promotion, measures to reduce corruption and professionalize state agencies, market reforms, and other programs, where they will not destabilize societies but foster peaceful change.

    Conflict Scales Another key dimension for responding to intra-state conflicts is their scale or scope. Destructive and violent intra-state conflicts may vary from small and localized to convulsive, nation-wide civil wars.

    To get a better sense of the variety of policy options to address conflicts, it is essential to appreciate these different sizes or scales. Scale refers to the geographic and political levels of a conflict and thus the kinds and sizes of the parties that tend to be involved. Conflicts can occur between two or more sovereign states regional and inter-state , within states intra-state , and between or within local communities local , including those within a country or across borders. More specifically, national intra-state conflicts recently have included: insurgencies to disrupt or oppose central regimes e.

    Phillipines, Macedonia ; inter-group violent conflict over access to jobs, education, subsidies, etc. They may stay at one stage for a long time, or evolve quickly and skip a stage. Also, various regions in a country may exhibit differing stages at the same time. National conflicts can take localized forms of the larger conflicts. Localized intra-state conflicts usually involve inter-communal conflicts over access to land, water, pasture, and other scarce natural resources e.

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    These conflict scopes are also a crucial consideration for policymakers because they tend to involve differing population sizes, channels for articulating interests and organizing collective action, geographical spaces, and degrees of destruction, and thus, their tractability for those trying to reduce them. Generally, the higher the level of open destructive intra-state conflicts, the more people required to wage them, the more people killed and displaced, and the more destructive their impact.

    Two pastoral tribes engaging in cattle-rustling with spears entail a more manageable problem unless many such localized conflicts are occurring throughout a country , than would government and rebel armies deploying mortars, tanks, and airplanes against each other.

    Peacebuilding resources

    The latter will usually be much more difficult to alleviate and terminate. Violent intra-state conflicts do not suddenly erupt out of nothing.

    They are not random events that suddenly befall societies with no antecedents. A number of factors determine whether underlying conflicts become open ones, and on what scale. The precise moment when the outbreak of the violent expression of a conflict will occur is often unpredictable, but the presence and increase of various known risk factors can be determined. It is often stated that a particular conflict is caused by this or that sfactor.

    For example, the Israeli- Palestinian conflict is said to be caused by religious and cultural differences, competition for territory and water, nationalisms, terrorism, unequal power, or the personalities of Yassar Arafat and Ariel Sharon. In reality, every violent conflict is brought about or perpetuated by a number of direct and indirect factors that combine and interact, and they play different roles in each setting. These factors can be as diverse as physical terrain, history, political structures, economic policies, and cultural perceptions.

    Research on the sources of violent intra-state conflict is fairly unified about the typical generic factors that, in differing and unique combinations, tend to contribute to the emergence of open violence or use of armed force in particular places. The more direct antecedents of violent conflicts, such as the triggering effect of violence itself, are the most familiar factors. These sets of causal factors differ mainly with respect to whether they directly cause collective violence or have a more indirect influence, and whether they can be significantly altered in the short term by particular actors such as a government or international agency and its policies.

    Again, the value of laying out these categories is to point policymakers toward the many different possible entry points for preventive action. Each of these sets of factors require differing kinds of responses. Since some factors come into play in the short term and some over the long term, the corresponding preventive actions will differ as to how quickly they are needed and how long it takes to have an impact on a conflict. In the past, major global trends have fostered waves of similar types of conflicts across many countries during certain eras.

    Examples are the competition over territory and resources among the European mercantilist empires in the 16th and 17th centuries; the rise of democracy and socialism in opposition to aristocracy, and of nationalism against empires, from the 18th through the 19th century; ideological struggles between capitalism, fascism and communism in the midth century; and the decolonization and formation of newly-independent states in the second half of the 20th century. Many of the latest wave of post-Cold War conflicts in Africa and the former Soviet Union was fostered in the late s by the rapid withdrawal of superpower patron support from their client regimes, leading often to internal power struggles between contending elites and their constituencies, such as in Somalia and Tajikistan.

    As stated earlier, societies normally maintain some kind of stability through various systems of accepted or imposed understandings and social compacts or constitutions, explicit or implicit, that govern the relationships of individuals and groups and the distribution of power and privilege.