Most conﬂict studies focus on the causes of war and violence. In contrast, this article on Ecuador explores the causes of peace in a country with strong conﬂict fault lines, a political army and several deep political crises during the last two decades. The article suggests that focusing on domestic capabilities for peaceful conﬂict management provides a new entry point to explaining why peace is sustained. An important aspect lies in the role of the armed forces and of civil society. Theories on civil-military relations provide an understanding of why armed forces intervene. However, there is less analysis of factors that inﬂuence political armies’ behaviour in terms of the use or non-use of violence. This is the focus of this article. Furthermore, the article asks why actors in civil society opt for non-violent strategies. In summary, the article analyses the capabilities for peaceful conﬂict management of national actors—particularly of the armed forces and of civil society—through a focus on their behaviour in three recent political crises, and by tracking the inﬂuence of historical experiences, cultural context and the structural and institutional framework on their behaviour.
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