On the Fault Line: Managing Tensions and Divisions within Societies

‘This may become the seminal work on a problem that threatens to destabilise important areas around the globe’ -Henry Kissinger

In modern statecraft the term ‘fault lines’ evokes frontiers and borders on the ground, but the divisions in societies are rarely so neat. Like geological fault lines, some are plainly evident, whereas others are more concealed and can erupt with little warning.

Violence along fault lines within states, from Nigeria to Iraq to the Congo, is the spark of much contemporary conflict, costing millions of lives in the last two decades. Some countries, such as Canada, South Africa and Northern Ireland, have made significant progress towards successfully managing their fault lines, but many others have not. In extreme cases such as Sudan, the resulting violence can tear states apart.

No country is destined to suffer conflict because of its societal divisions, but no nation is guaranteed to be at peace. This book shows how governments and the international community can manage the divisions that affect all states and help prevent fault lines from erupting. It is an essential guide to understanding a phenomenon that all countries must learn to face as the 21st century unfolds.

On the Fault Line is available at good bookstores worldwide from February 2012. To order via Amazon

'Many countries, large or small, experience divisive societal fault lines. While some states fail and descend into anarchy and violence, others overcome clear tensions. The Brenthurst Foundations's scholarly, multi-region study offers extremely valuable insights and examples.On the Fault Line explodes some widely-held myths and may become the seminal work on a problem that threatens to destabilize important areas around the globe.', Dr Henry Kissinger

'My own country, South Africa, has suffered the consequences of perhaps the most obvious fault-line of all - race. But as the impact of racial segregation and discrimination dissipates, we face fresh challenges, including stark divisions in wealth and access to it, a new apartheid if you will, along with the re-imposition of racial favouritism in a hazardous attempt to remedy past wrongs.On the Fault Line is invaluable in guiding us through not only the management of such distinctions, but their eventual resolution.', F. W. de Klerk

'To deal effectively with deadly conflict within societies, you have first to understand the"what"and above all the"why". Why do some fracture along ethnic, confessional and/or class and wealth lines - countries as varied as Congo, Sudan, Turkey, Bosnia, Lebanon, and Guatemala - while others somehow succeed in managing and containing the stresses? This important book brings these issues into sharp focus, and suggests where and how the international community might best help. It is an invaluable contribution to a debate which will shape politics and security in the 21st century', Sir Kieran Prendergast

'Ethnic and other fault lines are to be expected in African countries, carved as they were from the continent by colonial powers with scant respect for traditional boundaries. That has made their management essential, not least since the politics of ethnic identity has played such a major part in access to resources and power in post-colonial governments, including in my own country. For this reason, and many more,On the Fault Line is an imperative read as we strive to learn from our mistakes and the experiences of others', Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya

'No nation can afford to ignore the fault lines that periodically rumble in their societies, because left unaddressed they can explode with little warning, devastating lives and communities for a generation. This remarkable compendium is an invaluable guide for governments and civil society on the art of managing tensions and divisions among peoples without resort to violence', Alfredo Cristiani, President of El Salvador, 1989–94

'This potent and sobering book should leave no one in doubt about the potential for mass violence along the fault lines that simmer in our societies', Professor Christopher Coker

'Fault lines, especially ethnic and religious divisions, and the history of Africa are entwined. Such divides are however not destiny but testimony to the failings of politicians in their reversion to the differences within states as a means to shore up their rule. Hence differences in tribe and religion often give way and pattern wealth divides as the resources are divvied out.On the Fault Line is recommended reading - not only to remember where some have gone wrong, but to illustrate how others have got it right', Vice President Joyce Banda, Malawi

© The Brenthurst Foundation 2017.