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Culture and International Mediation: Exploring Theoretical and Empirical Linkages

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image of International Negotiation

Culture is undoubtedly one of the most significant aspects of identity, yet our understanding of the concept and particularly of its consequences for international conflict management is underdeveloped. In this article, we test the hypothesis that cultural differences between parties reflect diversity and contradictions, and that these differences compound the difficulties faced by conflicting parties in finding effective mediated outcomes. Several theories that deal with culture's impact on conflict management are presented and a model is introduced that permits us to test the hypothesis empirically. Five variables that measure culture are examined; these include geographical proximity, nature of the political system, political rights, civil rights and religion. The analysis suggests that all but one (nature of the political system) have a significant impact on mediation outcomes.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand; 2: Department of Political Science, Lund University, Box 52, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden


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