The Microdynamics of Conflict Escalation: The Case of ANC-IFP Fighting in South Africa in 1990


This paper seeks to understand the relation between local and national conflict dynamics by looking at four arenas of conflict between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in South Africa in 1990. The analysis shows that what started off as local conflict often escalated when national actors were brought in, locating agency at both the centre and the periphery. These insights are in line with other research on the microdynamics of war, offer novel insights into civil war as a complex phenomenon, and have implications for how we design conflict resolution mechanisms.

Pax et Bellum Journal 1(1)
Sebastian van Baalen
Sebastian van Baalen
Assistant Professor of Peace & Conflict Research

My research interests include the dynamics of violence and civil war.