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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

1998, Vol. 1 No. 1 .

Interactive Conflict Resolution
Ronald J Fischer.

Fischer (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1997)
312pp. Index. $49.95; ISBN 0-8156-2714-9 $49.95.
Pb: $19.95; ISBN 0-8156-2715-7.

Fisher's book is noteworthy for its clear description and analysis of four aspects of interactive conflict resolution: the development of its theory and practice; the significance of interactive practices in the context of other approaches to peace; the major variations within the overall interactive approach; and challenges facing the further development of this work. Fisher coined the term interactive conflict resolution to emphasize the core understanding unifying the approach, that "face-to- face interaction among representatives of the parties themselves is required to understand and resolve complex intercommunal and international conflicts." (p. 7) In reviewing this approach, Fisher summarizes the work of John Burton, Leonard Doob, Herbert Kelman, Edward Azar, Bryant Wedge, Vamik Volkan, Harold Saunders, Joseph Montville, John McDonald, Louise Diamond, and other practitioners. Fisher pioneered a contingency model of conflict resolution, matching conflict resolution activities to the current conditions of a conflict, and he builds on that model to argue for the complementarity of interactive conflict resolution and other approaches to peace. In sum, Interactive Conflict Resolution fills a previous gap in the literature by presenting a clear, comprehensive and engaging text reviewing both theory and practice within this area of conflict resolution.

Susan Allen Nan, George Mason University

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