Identifying sparking events in cultural identity conflict cascades

 F. Schulte (PI, Heidelberg University)

C. Trinn (PI, Heidelberg University)

Team of 10 research assistants & interns


The project aims to identify the sparking events triggering cascades of conflictive mass behaviour in cultural identity conflicts.

Dead Cows and Rumours. Introducing the SPARK Dataset

with C. Trinn (Heidelberg University)

Timing, Arrests, and Backlashes in Cultural Identity Conflicts

with C. Steinert (Mannheim University)


Little is known on the factors that determine which types of repression trigger backlash protests. We hypothesize that leader arrests symbolize the suppression of social collectives, they create collective grievances, and constitute focal points for mobilization. Building on a global sample of arrests of cultural identity group members, we qualitatively traced for each arrest whether it sparked a backlash. Drawing on coarsened exact matched fixed-effect models, we find that backlashes are significantly more likely following leader arrests. Our findings cast doubt on the narrow focus on quasi-constant structural variables and make the case for the importance of triggering events.