Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises
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Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises

Edited by Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Kyle Beardsley and David Quinn

Current conceptions of mediation can often fail to capture the complexity and intricacy of modern conflicts. This Research Handbook addresses this problem by presenting the leading expert opinions on international mediation, examining how international mediation practices, mechanisms and institutions should adapt to the changing characteristics of contemporary international crises.
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Chapter 7: Cultural ties across crises: the diffusion of mediation from crisis to crisis

Tobias Böhmelt and Zorzeta Bakaki


How does mediation diffuse from one crisis to another? Previous research focuses on geographical ties to explain this. This chapter contributes to this work by adding culture as a substantively meaningful link among disputes that may facilitate the “traveling” of mediation. Ties, if strong and well established, facilitate the flow of information. If two crises are tied to each other via such links, actors might have learned from what happened in the past, even if this occurred in another conflict. The authors contend that cultural similarities between two crises will have a positive impact on the chances of seeing mediation if there was mediation in another dispute. Shared cultural characteristics can lower coordination and collaboration costs. The authors also distinguish between learning and emulation mechanisms and, eventually, report that mediation generally diffuses via cultural ties connecting crises, but it is primarily successful mediation attempts that drive this result.

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