The determinants of low-intensity intergroup violence.

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    • Abstract:
      What accounts for low-intensity intergroup violence? This article explores the determinants of low-intensity sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, which has marked the post-1998 peace agreement period. Low-intensity violence comprises a variety of events from riots to attacks against other civilians as well as against homes and symbolic buildings such as churches. We argue that this violence is more likely and prevalent in interface areas where similarly sized rival communities are geographically in contact with each other. Parity and contact spur intergroup competition and threat perception, and they increase the viability of violence. We use original cross-sectional time-series violence data for the 2005–12 period at a disaggregated subnational level, the ward, and a wide variety of social and economic indicators to test our hypotheses. In particular, we assess the impact of within-ward ethnic composition, on the one hand, and the ethnic composition of neighboring wards, on the other. We find that the number of intergroup violent events peaks in wards where there is parity between groups, and in predominantly Catholic (Protestant) wards that border predominantly Protestant (Catholic) wards. The article makes two main contributions: it shows that micro-level dynamics of violence can expand beyond local territorial units, and it suggests that ethnic segregation is unlikely to prevent intergroup violence. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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