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  • Cited by 2
  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: October 2009

8 - Conflict Escalation and Negotiation: A Turning-Points Analysis


International negotiation is a dynamic process. Outcomes develop from patterned exchanges between negotiating parties and their constituencies. Of particular interest to analysts is the challenge of depicting these patterns. Some prefer sequential stage models (Douglas 1957; Zartman 1975; Gulliver 1979; Pruitt 1981; Druckman 1983), although they differ on just how the stages should be characterized. Others propose cyclical models in which monitoring and learning are central (Coddington 1968; Snyder and Diesing 1977; Cross 1983). For both, however, the guiding question is how to explain the relationship between processes and outcomes. Central to this explanation is the idea of turning points or events that move the process on a trajectory toward or away from agreement. One purpose of this chapter is to increase the usefulness of turning points as an empirical concept. It is a first attempt to perform a large-sample comparative analysis of negotiation processes. Another purpose is to assess the role of turning points in the escalation of conflicts. The negotiation process is analyzed in the context of the larger conflict between the parties.

Turning Points in Negotiation

There seems to be agreement on a broad conceptual definition of turning points. There is less agreement on how the concept should be operationalized for the analysis of negotiation processes. The concept is usually considered in conjunction with stages and defined as “events or processes that mark passage from one stage to the next, signaling progress from earlier to later phases” (Druckman 1997a, p. 92).

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