Research Seminar: Conflict Intensity Beyond Battle Deaths - Rethinking Dynamic Conflict Theory

CRIC invites to the research seminar 'Conflict Intensity Beyond Battle Deaths - Rethinking Dynamic Conflict Theory', with PhD fellow Isabel Bramsen and Professor Ole Wæver.


Please register at no later than Thursday, March 3rd, 2016. The paper will be forwarded to you upon registration.


It is often implied in existing research that a conflict turns violent when it reaches a certain stage of escalation; and the most common way to measure conflict intensity is in terms of the number of battle deaths, i.e. the level of violence. Thus intensity and violence are given internal conceptual links, preventing thorough analysis of their relationship. However, there is no evidence that conflict intensity equal or lead to violence. A conflict may be very intense with daily demonstrations, antagonism and confrontation, emotional intensity and political mobilization, but with low levels of violence. And vice-versa. This paper conceptualizes conflict intensity distinctly from the level of violence. The question “what is conflict intensity?” triggers the question “intensity of what?”, i.e.” what is conflict?” Therefore, the paper revisits Galtung’s classic ABC conceptualization of conflict as attitude, behavior and contradiction and develops a more relational account for conflict emphasizing situational, interactional and tensional dynamics. The paper theorizes how these three dimensions of conflict: situation, interaction and tension (SIT) are intensified in conflict escalation and exemplifies with cases from the Arab Spring. In conclusion, implications of the SIT model for conflict resolution are discussed; changing the situation, transforming the interaction and managing tensions.

About research seminars at CRIC

The research seminar is a forum for academic debate, organized around the paper, and is conducted on the assumption that the paper has been read by participants.

Best, CRIC.