This project will explore civil wars in a geographical perspective and transnational context. Cross-country comparative statistical studies, as well as much of the case-study literature, focus on various state characteristics that influence the likelihood of civil war. However, the nation-state is both too large to serve as an appropriate unit of analysis of civil wars - which are often characterized by local processes and large geographical differences within states - and too small to adequately capture conflict development, since this frequently involves transnational constituencies and activities that cross national boundaries. This project will apply theories of conflict interactions at the micro-level, recognizing that civil-war violence rarely encom passes entire states and that the relevant local processes and relations between groups in some locale (e.g., ethnic minorities) can differ fundamentally from national-level dynamics. Building on the PI's previous research on non-state actors and their tr ansnational linkages, we will develop new data on non-state actors that better reflect the local conditions and interactions. The relationship of these characteristics to conflict can then be analyzed using geocoding and GIS resources. Finally, we will us e computational modeling to explore the micro-level processes and conditions that may give rise to civil war and peace at the macro-level.
The project is placed within an existing collaboration, Geographic Research on War (GROW-Network), which includes r esearchers at PRIO/CSCW and abroad. The PI will retain his primary appointment at Essex (UK) but take a teaching leave to spend significant (40%) time at PRIO, where the project's other senior researcher, the RA and the two postdocs are based. Senior asso ciates from the GROW-Net will visit for 1-3 month periods at PRIO/CSCW. Project meetings, including a workshop for the policy community, will also be held in Oslo.