Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 07/06/2014

Review: Starkey et al, International Negotiation in a Complex World

074256679XBrigid Starkey, Mark A. Bowyer, and Jonathan Wilkenfeld, International Negotiation in a Complex World 3rd ed. Lanhan, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. $29.95 pb.

This book neither contains simulations, nor it is primarily about the application of gaming methodologies. Instead, it is an introductory undergraduate university textbook on the dynamics of international negotiations. It seemed worth of a short review on PAXsims, however, for two reasons. First, gaming metaphors are used to structure the thematic organization of the volume. Second, the appendix contains some brief discussion off the use of simulations as active learning in the study of international relations, with particular emphasis on the ICONS Project.

Following a general introduction to the topic of negotiations in international relations, the book moves on to examine “the board” (namely, the international system and the way it shapes international negotiation, as well as the relevant factors shaping particular negotiations), “the players” (both states and transnational actors), “the stakes” (issues, issue salience, and two-level negotiation), “the moves”” (strategic choices, with some application of game theory), and outcomes (including a brief case study of the US and Iraq). Through, key terms and concepts are clearly identified and explained, and text boxes provide additional examples. There might have been a little more integration of the research literature on negotiations, but overall I found it to be a well-crafted volume that would serve well in the classroom. The gaming metaphor works well, and is one that will help students make sense of the negotiation process.

The appendix on ICONS provides students with a basic understanding of how the ICONSnet website and software works. It might have been useful if this discussion had been broadened a bit and made a little less ICONS-specific, so that it might serve as well for courses that use other negotiation simulations. Still, as this brief section shows, ICONS is certainly well suited to teaching negotiation.


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