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Project: Micro-Foundations of Conflict Escalation (MiCE)

Micro-Foundations of Conflict Escalation (MiCE)

Micro-Foundations of Conflict Escalation (MiCE) will improve understanding of how and why conflicts escalate. Previous research has, for the most part, treated conflict as an either-or phenomenon. If it has shown any interest in escalation, it has confined itself to pointing to very broad structural factors that increase the risk of a conflict being either ‘minor’ or ‘major’. MiCE, in contrast, takes a much more dynamic approach and focuses on the mechanisms of escalation. This study examines the mechanisms that govern the unobserved process of escalation that determine the tendency of a conflict to wax and wane, and that produce the horrific humanitarian consequences associated with conflict escalation. The researchers involved also conceptualize escalation more broadly than is typically the case in the existing literature, and examine it in terms of lethality, geographic scope, number of participating actors, the breadth of targets of violence, the extent to which repertoires of violence are narrow or wide, and the aims of the actors.


Christopher Fariss


Peace Research Institute Oslo

Funding Period