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An ever more violent world?

Gleditsch, Kristian (2019) 'An ever more violent world?' Political Studies Review, 17 (2). 99 - 114. ISSN 1478-9299

2018-12-22_PSR_submission.pdf - Accepted Version

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A recent report by the United Nations and the World Bank argues that the world has seen “a surge in violent conflicts in recent years”, with a sharp increase in reported battle-related and terrorist attacks, and calls for preventive action to ensure that increasing conflict does not undermine the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I will argue that this is a far too pessimistic assessment of conflict trends and not borne out the available evidence, which indicates a decline in violent conflict since the end of the Cold War. Alarmist warnings may seem helpful to call for action, but they detract attention from what we can learn about the causes for why conflict has declined. For example, resort to violence has become less frequent where factors that can motivate resort to violence such as political and ethnic exclusion have decreased. Moreover, conflict of interest does not imply violence, and the space for nonviolent alternatives has increased. The future of conflict and peace depends on our confidence in whether positive changes will continue and our understanding of the possible challenges.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: conflict, war, peace, trends, prediction
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2019 14:02
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2020 14:15

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