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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

2000, Vol. 3 No. 1 .


After the Peace: Resistance & Reconciliation
Robert L Rothstein ed.

(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1999)
265pp. Index. Bibl. Hb.: 39.95; ISBN 1-55587-828-8. (Distributed by Eurospan)



Three pairs of case studies, on Israel-Palestine, Northern Ireland and Bosnia, form the core of this book. In each case two contributors, one from each side of the main ethnic chasm, presents their views on the peace process. This editorial device only partially succeeds. It makes too many assumptions: that the authors in some sense represent their communities; that they address the same issues; and that they are working to a master editorial scheme. The two contributions on the Israeli-Palestinian process, while each is interesting, are unbalanced. Khalis Shikaki focuses on Palestinian public opinion, a much under-studied subject, and treats it well; the chapter by Moshe Ma'oz recounts the post-Oslo peace accords. It would have been more interesting to looked at Jewish public opinion or, alternatively, to have a Palestinian perspective on the process. The subjects are too far apart.

The pairing is better coordinated in the two contributions on Bosnia. Susan Woodward combines an excellent narrative and analysis of post-Dayton Bosnia. Dusko Doder's 'Reflections on a Schizophrenic Peace' brilliantly conveys how ordinary people are affected by war; it approaches the same subject more personally and consequently provides an alternative perspective.

The chapters by Paul Arthur - a particularly erudite contribution - and Duncan Morrow on Northern Ireland are more complementary. Together they succeed not only in conveying how the process is viewed differently by Unionists and Nationalists, but in providing analytical alternatives on peace-making.

There is much of real value in the book. The final chapters, by Herbert Kelman, Donald Shriver, add social-psychological and moral perspectives, and the editor's chapter argues convincingly that post-accord periods are 'sufficiently distinct to warrant independent analysis'. The literature on peace processes has suffered from a tendency to be buried in a mass of general comparisons. The time has come to isolate specific aspects of the process for more careful analysis, as this book has done.


John Darby



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