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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

: This article examines the role of individual preferences and actions in producing conflict and how conflict shapes preferences, identity, and actions. Using an analytical approach, it looks at the causes and consequences of interpersonal and group conflict, with particular emphasis on the microfoundations of conflict and peace. It also considers how conflict causes action and the formation of collective identity, much as collective identity gives rise to conflict and action. After reviewing some of the challenges raised by the study of conflict, the article discusses the link between interpersonal conflict and individual-level dynamics. It then explores ethnic and class conflict in relation to group-level dynamics, along with the endogenous dynamics of violent conflict in the context of civil war. Finally, it highlights the importance of alliance as a mechanism linking local cleavages into a conflict’s master cleavage.

Keywords: preferences, action, conflict, group conflict, peace, collective identity, interpersonal conflict, violent conflict, civil war, alliance

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