Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 April 2021
This chapter about the failed peace negotiations between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda, the Juba Peace Talks, highlights the main gaps in scholarship on peacemaking, introduces the main arguments of the book, sets the scene on access to the LRA and reflects on methodological challenges. The book argues that contemporary peacemaking suffers from a theory/practice gap, with the way conflicts are supposed to be resolved not mirroring the complexity of the conflict. Current scholarship on peace negotiations emphasises game theory, failing to take context and developing dynamics into account. Yet how actors experience peace talks and their dynamics determines negotiation conduct and the extent to which they can change their own behaviour. For the Lord’s Resistance Army/Movement (LRA/M), the process was a contradictory experience with shifting loyalties and interests. Internal dynamics within the LRA/M were profoundly influenced by their perception that they were trapped in an established hostile system with an uneven playing field. Yet the LRA/M also struggled to transform their internal dynamics of distrust. The chapter further outlines the methodological challenges of access to armed groups and using likely manipulated information for research.