Where is the Promised Territory? The Determinants of the Geography of Violence in Civil Conflicts

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Arzu Kibris (Associate Professor, University of Warwick): a.kibris@warwick.ac.uk

Civil conflicts are violent struggles about state formation. And no would-be-state-maker takes up arms without a targeted territory. That is why in most civil conflicts, violence remains geographically clustered, and a great deal of places never experience any events while a small subset of locations account for nearly all the violence in a recurring fashion. In this study, I empirically analyze the determinants of this geographical clustering. In other words, I explore the defining characteristics of targeted locations. I rely on a newly available conflict event dataset on the long running civil conflict in Turkey and rich archival information on socioeconomic indicators at microlevels to understand why violence flares up where it does. Results indicate the importance of state strength and reach.