Loughborough University
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The OSCE and conflict prevention, management and resolution

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posted on 2010-11-25, 14:52 authored by Zoe Hibell
This thesis discusses the work of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the field of conflict prevention, management and resolution, from 1990 until late 1998. Two theoretical perspectives, neo-realism and neo-liberal institutionalism, provide a framework for analysis. Both theories are able to highlight different strengthsa nd weaknesses in the OSCE's approach which are described in three case studies. However, neither theory can fully explain the findings of the case studies. In the thesis's conclusion the shortcomings of both theories are discussed and the gaps in explanation are explored by reference to constructivist approaches. Three case studies are described in order to demonstrate different facets of the OSCE's work. Macedonia provides an example of the OSCE's work in conflict prevention (it is in the field of conflict prevention that the OSCE is seen at its most successful). The second case study, Nagomo-Karabakh, examines the OSCE's handling of an ongoing conflict and attempts to arrange both a peace conference and a peacekeeping mission. The issues surrounding the conflict here demonstrate the complexity of external involvement in mediation and negotiation processes, and the difficulties of trying to find solutions that are acceptable to the parties in a context complicated further by the interests of external actors. The third case study is an analysis of the OSCE's engagement in the post-conflict reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This reveals the problems of implementing aspects of an unsatisfactory peace agreement. The case study highlights the enormity of the tasks assigned to the OSCE and the lack of coherent international support for the organisation's work. It also discusses the effects of the interplay of both external and internal power political struggles on the OSCE's operations. The thesis concludes that the OSCE has in limited ways performed valuable work in all three case studies but that its real strengths are most apparent in the field of conflict prevention.



  • Social Sciences


  • Politics and International Studies


© Zoe Hibell

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A Master's Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy at Loughborough University.

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  • en

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  • MPhil

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  • Masters

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    International Relations, Politics and History Theses


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