Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > All Politics is Local: How Spatial Context Shapes Civil Conflict

Existing studies using spatial data omit many crucial aspects of the conflicts under study. While all models must make simplifying assumptions, these models often reduce space to a simplistic notion of distance. Case studies of civil wars demonstrate how factors such as population density and transportation infrastructure shape the local spatial context of a conflict, and in turn influence the decisions made by combatants. Based on these observations, I discuss how future research can best use the information contained in spatial conflict data by combining it with a more nuanced understanding of the role space plays in the on- set, progression, and resolution of conflict. As an example, I demonstrate how this spatial context approach can build upon current group focused investigations of rebel movement evolution by providing a more complete universe of potential rebel groups, leading to more robust conclusions.