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Political violence in comparative perspective: A system dynamics approach to violent conflicts

Final Activity Report Summary - POVICOPESYDY (Political Violence in Comparative Perspective: A System Dynamics Approach to Violent Conflicts)

The project 'Political violence in comparative perspective: A system dynamics' approach to violent conflicts' was initiated and completed by Dr Manuel Salamanca. Its purpose was to test and refine conceptual models for the description and analysis of political violence. A particular focus was made on intractable conflicts. In order to study this kind of conflicts, two cases were chosen, namely the Basque country and Colombia, who, each in their own right, represented long-standing conflict situations with the characteristics of significant political incompatibilities and ongoing levels of violence for a protracted period of time.

Modelling, as an approach, implied both a social science and mathematical undertaking and Dr Salamanca's research addressed both aspects. Part of this was a first testing level of research, preparing for the final phase of more robust tests of models in the project's main part.

The results showed that, under certain circumstances, a system dynamics' approach was both an inventive and challenging method for theorising around political violence and its dynamics. Modelling brought into light information that might not be observed, or even accessible, through other approaches. This was one of the advantages of implementing a systems' approach, based on the dynamics of, in this case, violent and intractable social processes.