Opting Out of War: Strategies to Prevent Violent Conflict




Anderson, Mary B.
Wallace, Marshall

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Lynne Rienner Publishers


This book reports stories of existing capacities and resilience on the part of multiple communities—some quite sizable and significant—that manage to prevent violent conflict when all the incentives that surround them are to become involved, to fight. The stories of thirteen communities show that prevention of violent conflict is possible. Normal people living normal lives have the option to say no to war, and they take it. Normal leaders in systems that already exist can respond to and support their people in non-engagement, and they do. This kind of conflict prevention does not require special training, new leadership, or special funding. It occurs, repeatedly and around the world in different types of conflict. The communities described in this book were successful because they acted with intentionality and planning to set themselves apart from the agendas of the war, for pragmatic rather than ideological reasons. They did not move to avoid interaction with actors in the conflict nor attempt to be irrelevant to the battle. They were not hidden from view by remoteness or because of their insignificance in numbers. The alternate route they chose is not war-prevention, but it does constitute prevention of violent conflict in their contexts.



Locally-led Peacemaking Initiatives, Strategies, Conflict Prevention, Governance


Anderson, Mary B., and Marshall Wallace. Opting Out of War: Strategies to Prevent Violent Conflict. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2012.