Department of Computational Social Science Seminar Abstract - Pint Dissertation Proposal

Thursday, January 24 - 2:00 p.m.
Location: TBA

DISSERTATION PROPOSAL: When People Rebel: A Computational Approach to the Study of Violent Collective Action

Bianica Pint
CSS PhD Student
George Mason University

Abstract: Violent collective action is a complex system; it consists of individuals with “distinct identities, needs and interests” (Demmers, 2012) that interact with other individuals across a variety of levels (local, global, state, and region). Attempting to understand the underlying dynamics and interactions of violent conflict requires a “bottom-up” approach. In its ability to model complex systems, the utility of using a computational approach, to include agent-based modeling, social network analysis, and geographic information systems, will be demonstrated. Four real-world case studies, across a variety of geographic locations and conflict scales, will be used to help gain insight into why people join collective violence, how violent collective action evolves, and where violent collective action forms and spreads. Using empirical data for which to create the environments and inform the agents, qualitative agreement with actual events modeled will be sought. Through the understanding gained, this thesis will seek to contribute to the existing body of knowledge on the topic of violent collective action.