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Defining Conflict

The spectrum between peace and war consists of conflict.  The following is a factors analysis that allows for the rating of conflicts by four specific axis.

  1. The range from random and impulsive to organized and planned.  When conflict is at its lowest, violent acts are extremely random.  When conflict is at its most intense (a full scale war) violent acts are extremely organized
  2. The range of action from hostility (not expressed ) to physical violence.  Conflict at its lowest involves internalized hostility that is not expressed.  At its most intense, it involves direct physical violence.
  3. The identification of enemies from none to specific well-stereotyped groups.  Conflict at its lowest involves generalized opponents or enemies.  Conflict at its most intense involves specific, well-defined enemies.
  4. The level of stress in the population from mild to extreme.  Conflict inculcates stress, and the higher the level of conflict, generally the higher the level of stress.

By considering these four factors it is possible to measure conflict. The most nebulous, stress, is one for which there are specific techniques and approaches for measuring its presence and implications in society.  The other elements are direct and readily measured (from simple "yes/no" to direct measures such as "there are fifteen instances of car bombing a year currently being committed" or "the conflict involves the following identified groups").

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