From Wars to Complex Political Emergencies: Understanding Conflict and Peace-Building in the New World Disorder


Goodhand, Jonathan, and David Hulme. 1999. “From Wars to Complex Political Emergencies: Understanding Conflict and Peace-Building in the New World Disorder.” Third World Quarterly 20 (1): 13-26.

Authors: Jonathan Goodhand, David Hulme


In recent decades the nature of large-scale violent conflict has fundamentally changed from an era of 'wars' to one that is characterised by complex political emergencies (CPES). A number of conceptual shifts have occurred in the attempt to better understand the nature of these multiple 'small wars.' Classic analytical frameworks focusing on the relationships between states, military capacities and strategies and international political economy are being put aside for more eclectic frameworks. These draw heavily on social and cultural theory, blend different theoretical elements together to analyse different situations, relate conflict to development and point to the inherent unpredictability of conflict processes and outcomes. This paper reviews these contemporary approaches to conflict and peacebuilding and comments on their implications for external agencies seeking to resolve conflict.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Gender Analysis, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peacebuilding

Year: 1999

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