Explaining and Mitigating Electoral Violence

Issued: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:15:00 BST

Principal Investigator: Prof Sarah Birch

In recent decades, more states have begun to hold elections, but many of these events have been beset by the use of force, which undermines states’ core economic, social and political functions. Addressing electoral violence is thus an urgent social and political need in today’s world. Starting in April 2015, this project will develop the conceptual, practical and methodological tools needed to understand electoral violence. The research will also seek to determine the strategies best suited to preventing, managing and mediating violence that takes place during election periods.

The research will combine cutting-edge textual retrieval techniques from the School of Computing Science’s renowned Terrier search engine platform, with quantitative political-science analysis to generate the largest collection electoral violence data ever assembled and to gain theoretical understanding of this phenomenon.

The project will result in two comparative databases of electoral violence, including a cross-national macro-level dataset and a series of linked incident-based datasets to track electoral violence at the micro-level among digital-born media forms such as news webpages and social media.

The project will also develop and test a series of theoretical propositions about the causes of electoral violence and evaluate the impact of practical interventions designed to mitigate it.

Finally, the research will involve the creation of an online electoral violence assessment tool that can be used to generate information about current risks.

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