Date of Award

Spring 8-2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International studies

Committee Director

Reginia Karp

Committee Member

Maura Hametz

Committee Member

Joshua Behr

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.I45 F69 2004


Political violence, especially in ethnoreligious conflicts, continues to threaten the stability and security of the international environment. Motivations for using violence are complex and can evolve over time. As long as one or more of the motivations continue to exist, parties to a conflict will feel that violence is a legitimate course of action and, thus, the conflict will persist.

Theories about the causes of conflict and the approaches that should be taken to terminate it mostly propose a single approach. A single approach, however, will address certain issues while leaving others unresolved, allowing some motivations to continue stimulating conflict. To bring violence to an end, it is necessary to utilize multiple conflict resolution approaches, addressing the conflict from different perspectives and leading to the elimination of violence. Systematic combination of four essential elements drawn from several approaches provides a more comprehensive model of conflict resolution that can succeed in overcoming the motivations for violence and allow peace to endure. These four elements are a response to the underlying issues, track-two diplomacy, inclusiveness, and third-party assistance.

The case of Northern Ireland demonstrates the efficacy of this comprehensive model. Until all four elements of the model were used during the peace process, attempts to produce peace in this region repeatedly failed. Failed attempts, such as the Sunningdale negotiations, demonstrate the deficiencies of an incomplete peace process. The successful Good Friday negotiations, on the other hand, highlight the benefits of incorporating the four necessary elements into the conflict resolution process.


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