Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Date:
September 17, 2007
Source:
Brandeis University
Summary:
In the last century, more than 100 million people have perished in violent conflict, very often because of local clashes between ethnically or culturally distinct groups. In a novel study in Science, researchers report on a mathematical model that can predict where ethnic conflict will erupt.

In the last century, more than 100 million people have perished in violent conflict, very often because of local clashes between ethnically or culturally distinct groups. In a novel study recently in Science, researchers report on a mathematical model that can predict where ethnic conflict will erupt.

The study, conducted by scientists at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) and Brandeis University, can be applied to many areas and its predictions were tested on distinct ethnic groups in India and the former Yugoslavia. The researchers applied a model of global pattern formation that differentiates regions by culture. They discovered that heterogeneous areas with poorly- defined boundaries were prone to ethnic conflict.

The research asserts that in highly mixed regions, groups of the same type are not large enough to sway collective behavior toward claiming any particular public space; likewise, well-segregated groups are protected by clear boundaries identifying their space. However, the study concludes that "partial separation with poorly defined boundaries fosters conflict."

In essence, as poet Robert Frost wrote in a well-known poem, "good fences make good neighbors." Well-defined borders help prevent ethnic tension.

"Our research shows that violence takes place when an ethnic group is large enough to impose cultural norms on public spaces, but not large enough to prevent those norms from being broken," said Brandeis researcher Dr. May Lim. "Usually this occurs in places where boundaries between groups are unclear."

Reflecting an emerging direction in science applied to social policy, the study applies the scientific principles of pattern formation--which are used to describe, for example, how chemicals separate by type or phase--to the huge social problem of ethnic conflict. The researchers discovered that ethnic violence occurs in certain predictable patterns, just as do other collective behaviors in physical, biological, and social complex systems.

"The concept of pattern formation, while it may have been originally developed to understand chemical systems, is really a scientific model of collective behaviors, in which you look at those aspects that control overall behavior," said co-author and NECSI president Yaneer Bar-Yam.

"This study provides an indication of where regions may run into trouble, and how to avoid conflict, said Bar-Yam, adding, "this research reflects a tremendous opportunity for us to address a wide range of social concerns with new scientific tools."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brandeis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brandeis University. "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070913140311.htm>.
Brandeis University. (2007, September 17). Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070913140311.htm
Brandeis University. "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070913140311.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

2K Drafts Face-Mapping Tech for New Game

2K Drafts Face-Mapping Tech for New Game

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) "NBA 2K15" is angling for a slam dunk with an innovative new way to put players in the game. Gamers will be able to digitally graft lifelike 3D renditions of their faces onto virtual players using the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One cameras. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FBI Finishes $1 Billion Facial Recognition System

FBI Finishes $1 Billion Facial Recognition System

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) The FBI announced it plans to make its Next Generation Identification System available to law enforcement, but some privacy advocates are worried. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A+ for Apple iPhone Pre-Sales

A+ for Apple iPhone Pre-Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 15, 2014) Apple says it received a record 4 million first-day pre-orders for its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, pushing delivery dates into October. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft to Buy 'Minecraft' Maker for $2.5B

Microsoft to Buy 'Minecraft' Maker for $2.5B

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) Microsoft will acquire the maker of the long-running hit game Minecraft for $2.5 billion as the company continues to invest in its Xbox gaming platform and looks to grab attention on mobile phones. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins