Disaggregating Conflict by Actors, Time, and Location
In David A. Backer, Paul K. Huth, and Jonathan Wilkenfeld (eds.) Peace and Conflict 2014 (Routledge), p. 44–56.
33 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2021
Date Written: 2014
Disaggregated studies of conflict, which are increasingly common, provide fine-grained renderings of the relevant actors, timing, and location of events. These studies look beyond the country-year as the unit of analysis, in lieu of research designs that focus on individuals, households, or groups, the heterogeneous characteristics, beliefs, and interests of these actors, and resulting variation in attitudes, decision making, and behavior. Yet disaggregated approaches are not without limitations. This involves the trade- off in sacrificing greater external validity for internal validity but also uncertainties about design, measurement, and analysis. This chapter takes stock of the emerging research track by providing an overview of notable recent work that disaggregates conflict by its constitutive actors and the timing and location of events. We discuss select insights from these examples, why they challenge results from prior research or the conventional wisdom, and the associated implications for policy. Our concise review reveals a surge of rich context-specific research, which represents welcome progress, despite the rather limited communication across studies, the absence of data pooling, and the plethora of mixed findings.
Keywords: conflict, subnational, micro-level, disaggregation
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