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Wars without borders: conditions for the development of regional conflict systems in sub-Saharan Africa

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Ansorg, Nadine

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Abstract How and under what conditions does war spread into regions and do regional conflict systems evolve? These systems are defined as geographically bound spaces of insecurity, ones that are characterized by interdependent armed conflicts in which a plurality of actors who concur and/or interact within complex networks, and on different levels of action, participate. The regionalization of armed conflict is conceptualized as either the geographical diffusion to a new territory or as the escalation of violence within the very same territory, with the involvement therein of a multiplicity of actors. The processes of diffusion and escalation of civil war in potential and existent regional conflict systems in sub-Saharan Africa between 1989 and 2010 are analyzed with the help of a multivalue Qualitative Comparative Analysis (mvQCA). By using such a QCA, it is possible to compare several different cases and produce results that go beyond the ones thus far discovered from small-N analyses. By comparing 12 cases it is also possible to identify the causal relationships and interactions between variables. The analysis shows that, in the cases compared, four specific conditions lead to a regional spread of violence: economic networks sustained through the support of neighboring countries; an intervention on the part of the government; militarized refugees; and, non-salient regional identity groups.
Keywords conflict research; violence; civil war; escalation; diffusion; regional factors; conflict management; Africa South of the Sahara
Classification Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy
Free Keywords mvQCA
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 295-312
Journal International Area Studies Review, 17 (2014) 3
ISSN 2049-1123
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.