The purpose of this paper is to provide a more holistic approach to analysing the impact of all the behaviour of a conflict's participants its overall dynamics, using the example of the Northern Irish troubles.
A novel multivariate time series approach developed by Professor Paul Smoker is presented which can map the dynamics of this conflict and its causal inferences as a series or “systemograms”.
The case example reveals high levels of autocorrelation in the variety of techniques used by the state security authorities to suppress terrorism, indicating their strong role in maintaining this conflict. When more than one party exhibits such behaviour, the conflict “locks in”.
The work remains preliminary and historical. Data was collected on a month‐by‐month basis which suggests associated rather than direct causal influence. It would be useful to further explore these findings using data from similar conflicts.
Suggests that some counter‐terrorism approaches may be dysfunctional especially those adopting sub‐lethal weapons. Provides some insight into behavioural changes required to prevent conflict destabilisation.
Provides a novel conflict research methodology which allows the strong structural dynamics of the conflict to be seen – much the way that elapsed time photography enables hidden processes to be revealed. The raw statistics are presented here.
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