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Mobilizing for change: simulating political movements in armed conflicts

Altaweel, M; Sallach, D; Macal, C; (2013) Mobilizing for change: simulating political movements in armed conflicts. Social Science Computer Review , 31 (2) 143 - 164. 10.1177/0894439312451106. Green open access

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Abstract

Theories on the establishment and propagation of political movements through mobilization have emerged and evolved over the last half century. Among the major theoretical frameworks that have been advanced are resource mobilization theory, political process theory, and culture theory. However, despite these developments, relatively few methodological approaches have applied bottom-up computational modeling and simulation in explaining movement development in conflicts. With developments made in computational methods, the integration of social theory with modeling and simulation is a natural progression in creating tools that allow analysts, policy makers, and researchers the means to assess the successes or failures of political movements during armed struggles. This article presents an agent-based model and simulation that applies several frequently used theoretical approaches to political mobilization and explores the extent to which group resources and identity shaped conflicts in Central Asia. Given their historical, cultural, political, economic, and geographical circumstances, the authors seek to determine why different movements experienced contrasting political mobilization outcomes. Results show that receiving outside resources could help a relatively weak group, with limited mobilization, overcome opposition that is initially better mobilized, while shared identity and sufficient risk taking are shown to be potentially strong factors in producing successful mobilization. More broadly, the approach advanced enables analysts and researchers to better anticipate future mobilization events and projected paths of conflict by developing and understanding cause and effect relationships within relevant theoretical frameworks.

Type: Article
Title: Mobilizing for change: simulating political movements in armed conflicts
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0894439312451106
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0894439312451106
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page(http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).
Keywords: Mobilization, Movements, Social theory, Agent-based modeling, Simulation, Conflict, Central Asia
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology
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URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1347974
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