Chapter 8Conflict Modelling: Spatial Interaction as Threat

Peter Baudains and Alan Wilson

8.1 Introduction

Outbreaks of conflict, whether stemming from interstate or civil wars, insurgencies or civil unrest, continue to dominate news reports around the globe. Their onset and evolution is traditionally discussed using anecdotal perspectives, rather than by employing explicit models to seek out underlying mechanisms or patterns that might be exploited from a policy perspective. However, there has been a recent dramatic increase in the quantity and quality of explicit models detailing various aspects of conflict. This is partly due to increased data availability, which is crucial for modelling as it enables the development of models that are empirically consistent, and partly due to an increased range of sophisticated modelling techniques. Our understanding of conflict processes can be improved through such models. This may in turn improve the way in which interventions are planned. Some have even suggested that by using modern modelling techniques to investigate problems of crime, war and terrorism, the number of fatalities associated with such events can ultimately be reduced (Helbing et al., 2015).

In the first part of this chapter, we examine some of these models and investigate the extent to which they can be used in a policy context to aid decision-making. In Sections 8.28.4, we consider three domains in which models may be utilised: operational decision-making; understanding ...

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