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Revisiting an Elusive Concept: A Review of the Debate on Spoilers in Peace Processes
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2011 (English)In: International Studies Review, ISSN 1521-9488, E-ISSN 1468-2486, Vol. 13, no 4, 606-626 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In a seminal article, Stedman (International Security, 22, 1997, 5) suggested that the greatest source of risk to civil war peace processes comes from so-called spoilers, leaders, and groups that perceive peace as threatening and use violence to undermine attempts to achieve it. The spoiler concept has since gained significant ground and widespread legitimacy both in the academic literature and in critical policy circles. In the footsteps of this development, however, we suggest that the spoiler concept has been stretched beyond its original meaning and given raise to a number of ambiguities concerning its definition and empirical applicability. This lack of clarity in regard to some of the key aspects of the spoiler concept does not only risk undermining the usefulness of the concept itself, but also risks hampering the accumulation of valuable research on this pertinent topic. This article presents a reflection on a burgeoning research field and aims to contribute to the same by attempting to offer greater conceptual clarity in regard to a number of issues that are the core of the spoiler debate and by presenting a conceptual framework for analyzing spoilers in future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. Vol. 13, no 4, 606-626 p.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-166288DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2486.2011.01080.xISI: 000298359500002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-166288DiVA: diva2:475909
Available from: 2012-01-11 Created: 2012-01-11 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson, DesiréeSöderberg Kovacs, Mimmi

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