Whose Ox was Gored? Useful and Less Useful Questions about State and Collective Violence in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

29 Mar 2013


Dr. Robert Brym

Cost-benefit calculations based on invariant criteria are often used to explain decisions by states and insurgent groups to respond more or less violently to the assessment of threat. However, the value of such explanations is limited by their failure to recognize that criteria for cost-benefit calculations are historically and culturally contingent. This paper seeks to increase explained variation in state and collective violence by analyzing the changing political circumstances that led Israeli state actors and Palestinian insurgents to create and modify “decision regimes” for responding to perceived threats between 1987 and 2007. It calls for a modified rational-choice theory that highlights the importance of narrow cost-benefit calculations and institutional culture in the decision to engage in violence.

Event Date: 
Friday, March 29, 2013 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Sponsored By: 
Department of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh
2432 WWPH, University of Pittsburgh
Target Audience: 
Higher Education
Presenter Type: 
Visiting Scholar/Faculty