Culture and international conflict resolution

A critical analysis of the work of John Burton

By Tarja Vayrynen

Culture and international conflict resolution

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8140-8
  • Pages: 172
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £16.99
  • Published Date: December 2009
  • BIC Category: Society & culture: general, Politics & government, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, Society & social sciences / International relations, Society & social sciences / Society & culture: general, Politics
  • Series: New Approaches to Conflict Analysis


This book re-examines conflict resolution - and partcualry problem-solving conflict resolution - from a new perspective. The book is a critical study of John Burton's work, and outlines an alternative framework for the study of international conflict. It provides an insight into the problems of conflict and conflict resolution from a social constructionist angle.

Väyrynen argues that culture has a constitutive role in international conflict and conflict resolution. Culture offers a grammar for acting in and interpreting the world, and provides understandings of conflict and its resolution. Theories which deny the importance of cultural failure to understand the ontological conditions of human 'being'.


Introduction: the problematique of culture in international conflict analysis
1. Peaceful third-party interventions and Burtonian problem-solving conflict resolution
2. Burton's human needs theory and the denial of culture in conflict resolution
3. The rationale of Burton's totalist theory
4. Cultural dimensions of the social world
5. Phenomenological interpretation of problem-solving workshop conflict resolution: limitations and possibilities
Conclusion: ten theses on culture and international conflict resolution


Tarja Väyrynen is Research Director at Tampere Peace Research Institute in Finland

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