Currently, the ICR group focuses primarily on empirical conflict research in the following areas:
Whereas many researchers believe that ethnic grievances have little to do with the outbreak of political violence, our research shows that ethno-nationalist exclusion and mobilization are likely to trigger civil-war violence. Initially argued in Cederman and Girardin 2007, we have spent several years collecting data on, and analyzing, ethnic groups and their participation in conflict processes.
Since 2004, we have been meeting informally within GROWnet, which is a research network covering “Geographic Research On War” linking together conflict researchers in the UK, Norway and Switzerland. In 2007, we formalized this collaboration with funding from the European Science Foundation as an ECRP project on "Disaggregating Civil Wars". Some of this research has been based on geo-coded data from the Geo-referencing of Ethnic Groups (GREG) project, which introduces spatially explicit variables on distances, terrain and settlement patterns.
Another stream of research that we have developed in collaboration with colleagues at UCLA is based on a new global dataset called EPR. This research explores the impact of ethnic configurations on civil-war violence. A follow-up project, GeoEPR, puts all the group information on a spatial footing.
In 2009, we initiated a new project on "Refugee Flows and Transnational Ethnic Linkages" in collaboration with researchers at University of Geneva and University of North Texas with funding from Swiss Network for International Studies. This project explores the role of refugee flows in conflict processes involving transborder ethnic kin.
The connection between democratization and war is another important research topic that the ICR group is pursuing. We do so in the context of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) on "Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century" with projects in the first phase (2005-2009), Democratizing divided societies in bad neighborhoods, and the second phase (2009-2013), Institutional Strategies for Post-Conflict Democratization.
The ICR group also has a long-standing interest in computational modeling. Following the publication of Emergent Actors in World Politics, Cederman developed the Geosim system, which was applied to a series of topics in international relations, including the state formation, democratic peace, war size, territorial state size, nationalism and ethnic conflict. A version of the system called GeoContest has been used in teaching, allowing students to submit geopolitical strategies that compete against each other. Members of the ICR group have also produced GROWLab, a computational toolkit for agent-based modeling of geopolitical systems. Currently, the computational modeling efforts are conducted in the context of the CCSS.
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