This chapter provides an introduction to the volume on conflicts over natural resources in the Global South and situates the various contributions made. The authors note that such conflicts frequently involve poor, mainly rural people who are struggling to maintain access to the resources on which they depend for a living. The volume is concerned mainly with conceptual approaches to the issue of conflict. Given the diversity of conflict and cooperation dynamics and their relation with natural resources, the authors argue that general causal theories are problematic. Rather than aiming for grand explanations, the volume therefore is aimed to realise what Merton (1949) has termed ‘middle-range theory’.