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.

Related Articles


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 April 18, 2015 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 April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) WikiLeaks&apos; Julian Assange says the hacked emails and documents "belong in the public domain." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) American scientists build a self-powering camera that captures images without using an external power source, allowing it to operate indefinitely in a well-lit environment. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The State Of Virtual Reality

The State Of Virtual Reality

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Virtual Reality is still a young industry. What’s on offer and what should we expect from our immersive new future? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2015) Representatives from around 160 countries gather at the Hague to discuss cyber space and cyber security, including the dilemmas and challenges regarding the evolution of the internet. Ciara Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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