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Patterns of Conflict Escalation and Deescalation

Updated: May 26, 2022

In this project we build a model for conflict escalation while using elections as an organizing period around the incidents of conflict. Elections considered as a sensitive period for contemporary states and societies. Much is at stake while the political system is unstable and susceptible to external and internal pressures. From analytical perspective, this makes those periods excellent points of analysis of conflict escalation and the creation of predictive models for escalation and de-escalation dynamics. In the context of states in conflict this period of regime instability can invite violence; violence that is driven by politicians that would like to portray themselves as strong and assertive leaders, as part of their election propaganda. On the other side of the fence, violent non-state actors exploit this period of transition to extract pressure, via violent actions to disrupt the political process, influence election outcomes, or to gain concessions in exchange for lowering violence. This is a dangerous game played by different actors that can result in the intentional or unintentional escalation of existing conflict.

Researchers: Ori Swed, Dimitri Volchenkov, Sithma Jayawardena

Presentation: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2022. Politically Critical Period: Elections and Political Violence in Africa.

Presentation: Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting panel: Civil Conflict and Political Violence. Elections and Political Violence

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