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The Slippery Slope to GenocideReducing Identity Conflicts and Preventing Mass Murder$
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I. William Zartman, Mark Anstey, and Paul Meerts

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199791743

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791743.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

Outbidding and the Decision to Negotiate

Outbidding and the Decision to Negotiate

(p.126) 7 Outbidding and the Decision to Negotiate
The Slippery Slope to Genocide

Jannie Lilja

Oxford University Press

During an ongoing identity conflict, who decides whether or not to negotiate, and who represents the nonstate side in negotiations, are rarely obvious. A logic of outbidding predicts that the most extreme faction in the nonstate camp will prevail. Outbidding, in short, means that nonconciliatory deeds and discourse are used by actors with the objective of leading and representing the identity group. The question is thus how it is possible for a nonstate party to initiate negotiations and achieve agreement, and what external diplomatic interventions could assist this process. The chapter distinguishes theoretically between different aspects of outbidding. On this basis, expected outbidding strategies are formulated and explored in relation to actual strategies used by nonstate negotiators in three identity conflicts: Sri Lanka, Indonesian Aceh, and Senegalese Casamance. The findings suggest that the extensive use of violent outbidding appears to be associated with negotiation breakdown. Moreover, the findings underscore that outbidding at its core is about the signaling of trustworthiness. Outbidding may thus far have been overly correlated with terrorist violence and political extremism at the expense of more subtle nonviolent measures. In terms of policy, the results suggest the fruitfulness of diplomatic involvement. Merely inviting groups to formal talks may trigger change on the nonstate side in the direction of a political settlement. During negotiations, third parties can help to enhance transparency, facilitate communication, and control information.

Keywords:   outbidding, nonstate party, rebel, negotiation, identity conflict, trustworthiness

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