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56 J. Conflict Resol. 3 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr56 and id is 1 raw text is: 






                                                            journal of Conflict Resolution
                                                                         56(1) 3-15
                                                                @ The Author(s) 2012
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Fragmen tati on, and                                     DOI: 10.1177/0022002711429669
                                                                 http://jcr.sagepub.com
Conflict Processes                                                    OSAGE


Wendy Peariman and
Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham2,3






The most  prominent form of violent conflict in the world today occurs within states
rather than between them. Since 1945, over 75 percent of militarized disputes have
been civil conflicts.' From the African continent to the Balkans, civil wars have
raged and  self-determination movements  have  mobilized for collective violence.
Conflict over identity has emerged as a central problem for nations and the internal
community   as nationalist groups battle the state and each other in places like Iraq
and Sudan.
   The comparative  decline of conventional interstate war casts a spotlight on the
myriad  of conflicts involving nonstate actors, be they in conflict with each other
or with existing states. We define a nonstate actor as an organized political actor not
directly connected to the state but pursing aims that affect vital state interests. The
dominant  approach to analysis of conflicts involving nonstate actors views them,
like interstate conflicts, as the outcome of bargaining between antagonists (Fearon
1995; for review, see Walter 2009). This bargaining framework entails identifying
key players-typically just two-and  specifying their preferences, the limits of their
capabilities and resolve, and the information they have about each other.2 Given
such information, analysts derive predictions about when their strategic interaction
will result in conflict, as well as the characteristics of that conflict.


'Department of Political Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
2University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
3Peace Research Institute Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Corresponding Author:
Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland,
3140 Tydings Hall College Park, MD 20742, USA
Email: kgcunnin@umd.edu

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