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Mediation and reframing in civil wars
Since the 1980s, the proportion of mediation attempts in civil wars has exceeded those in interstate armed conflicts (Gartner, 2012, p. 72). However, in civil war mediation research there is limited understanding of “how mediators actually mediate" (Svensson and Wallensteen, 2010, p. xi). Going beyond traditional bargaining approaches to civil war mediation, this paper draws on scholarship on framing in negotiations. It explains how mediators support negotiations by helping parties to reframe their understanding of the conflict. Through a dialogue between existing theory and empirical analysis of cases of civil war mediations since 1946, the paper proposes three causal mechanisms that explain how mediators contribute to negotiation progress through reframing: convergence on issue frames through agenda-setting, reframed relationships through facilitating positive face-to-face contact, and a collaborative view of the negotiation process through training and coaching.