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A Transformation of Political Violence? Terrorism and the Decline of War

vrijdag 8 februari 2019
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP Den Haag


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About the lecture

A prominent body of research documents a decline in conventional warfare. However, many argue that another form of unconventional political violence, namely terrorism, is increasing dramatically. Common sources of data on terrorism such as the GRD indicate an increasing number of terrorist attacks since the mid-2000. The apparent increase in terrorism has received widespread publicity and is often cited as a key feature of the changing security environment in strategy documents. Some scholars hold that the decline in conventional war masks a transformation of violence from traditional forms of war to other types  of political violence. In his lecture, Professor Gleditsch will focus on the extent of substitution to terrorism (i.e., as an alternative to civil war) and whether this poses a plausible challenge to the decline of civil war thesis, versus the extent of complimentarity or use of terrorism in civil war. Using data from the Global Terrorism Database and standard databases on civil war he will demonstrate that there is little evidence for strict substitution, but strong evidence for complimentarity, or that terrorism is increasingly used as a tool in civil war. He will then relate this to changes in actor profiles, and argue that the increasing asymmetries of contemporary warfare and greater incentives promote terrorism as a tactic.

The paper will be available to registered attendees.

About the speaker

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch is the Regius Professor of Political Science in the Department of Government at the University of Essex, director of the Michael Nicholson Centre for Conflict and Cooperation, and a research associate at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). 

His research interests include conflict and cooperation, democratization, and spatial dimensions of social and political processes.

About the seminars

The Diplomacy and Global Affairs (DGA) Research Seminar is a series launched by the Research Group on Diplomacy and Global Affairs at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs. The seminars of internationally acknowledged guest researchers and faculty members deal with current research topics in diplomacy, international relations, global affairs, and political economy broadly conceived and target a broad audience through their interdisciplinary focus.


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