Isabel Bramsen

Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts, Copenhagen University, Københavns Universitet

Isabel Bramsen

Dynamics of Conflict Escalation and Violence

The project seeks to conceptualize conflict escalation as an emergent process shaped by situational dynamics and explore the potential for third party intervention during phases of escalation. Most conflict research focuses on the root causes of a conflict in order to address these either preventively or to solve the conflict. Violence is seen a degree of conflict which can only be prevented by solving the conflict before it turns violent. The Arab Spring has caused more researchers not to equate violence with conflict and take seriously nonviolent conflict.

This project is part of this evolving trend. Rather than focusing on root causes it seeks to comprehend the different dynamics that fuel violence vs. nonviolence in order to influence a conflict in a nonviolent direction during the escalation phase. The Arab Spring will serve as a case study integrating research on nonviolence, violence, new media and networked movements. The theory development is based on a pragmatist ethos where the objective is to inform policy making and improve practitioners’ navigation in conflicts during phases of escalation. The project consists of four parts 1) a conceptualization of escalation and violence integrating divided research traditions as well as research on the Arab Spring, 2) a case study on escalation of the Syrian civil war, 3) a case study on the escalation of the current crisis in Egyptian and 4) theory development on third parties navigation in conflicts during escalation based on the previous research results.