Date of Submission

Summer 7-19-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)

Department

Conflict Management

Chair/Co-chair

Volker Franke

Co-chair/Committee Member

Charity Butcher

Committee Member

Luc Noiset

Abstract

This study seeks to improve our understanding of the drivers of civil conflict through a synthesis of the grievance and feasibility approaches. It begins with two premises. The first is that the proponents of the feasibility explanation of conflict onset—who suggest that civil conflict will occur where it can happen—did not use theoretically justified measures of grievance in making their determination that motives have little bearing as drivers of conflict. The second premise is that the grievance literature that improved upon those measures did not fully consider feasibility in their models, leaving questions remaining regarding whether and to what degree more sound measures of grievance improve our current understanding of when and where conflict occurs. The research presented here seeks to address those limitations by adding updated grievance measures to the feasibility model to determine whether the feasibility hypothesis ought to be reconsidered.

In this study several of the new measures of grievance remain significantly related with onset when they are added to the feasibility model, suggesting that grievance levels do influence civil conflict likelihood. However, the inclusion of the improved grievance measures does not statistically improve the ability of the feasibility model to classify onset and non-conflict periods correctly. Therefore, while grievances may be related with conflict onset, the onus is still on those in the “grievance camp” to illustrate the manner in which knowing grievance levels improves our ability to predict civil conflict onset.

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