Conflict trends and trajectories

Monday 17 September 2018, 3.30 – 5.00 Parallel Sessions III; M12C (Alan Walters 103); CRS 2018, Birmingham

Conflict trends and trajectories. Chair: Catalina Montoya Discussant: Margherita Belgioioso

· Paper 1: Stephen Powell and Adrian Florea, Introducing the Armed Nonstate Actor Rivalry Dataset (ANARD) SEE abstract below

· Paper 2: Andera Salvi, Explaining the Variation of Violence in Civil War: Subnational Spatial Diffusion and Conflict Processes 

· Paper 3: Michael Spagat and Stijn van Weezel, Has War Really Declined since World War 2? SEE file below

· Paper 4: Gordon Burt, Values, World Society and Modelling – the fifth Yearbook

Introducing the Armed Nonstate Actor Rivalry Dataset (ANARD) 

Stephen R Powell & Adrian Florea

University of Glasgow

Abstract: While research on interstate rivalries is abundant, scholarship examining the dynamics of nonstate actor rivalry remains limited. Rivalry scholars have produced extensive data on militarised disputes between states: by contrast, data on militarised interactions between armed nonstate actors is relatively scarce. This is surprising given that much of the violent interaction which occurs in the contemporary international system unfolds between armed nonstate actors rather than between states. While we have a solid understanding of the conditions under which interactions between states are more likely to escalate to violent conflict, we have only a partial knowledge of the factors that precipitate violence escalation among armed nonstate actors. To address this shortcoming, this paper introduces the Armed Nonstate Actor Rivalry Dataset (ANARD) – a dataset which captures dyadic rivalries and militarised interactions (Militarised Nonstate Disputes (MNSDS)) between armed nonstate actors in the MENA region during the period 1990-2017. We begin by explaining why ANARD is necessary, before providing details of our data collection process and coding practices. Here, we focus upon our novel three-category measure of violence severity, which relies upon offensive action thresholds to capture the observed level of violence between armed nonstate actors. Further, we discuss the contribution that ANARD can make to our current understanding of violent conflict. Specifically, we argue that the dataset is necessary for systematic inquiry into the causes of rivalry escalation and de-escalation among armed nonstate organisations. Finally, we make the case that the dataset helps us better grasp the nexus between nonstate actor rivalry escalation and broader civil conflict processes such as onset, duration, and termination.

Gordon Burt,
5 Oct 2018, 10:03