Sparking Events, Emotional Climates, and Cascades in Cultural Identity Conflicts (SPARK)


Funded by DFG (493809260)


SPARK analyses the short-term escalation dynamics in cultural identity conflicts on a global scale. Conflictive mass behaviour is conceptualized as “cascades”, which are understood as propagations of self-organizing conflictive mass behaviour of varying intensity and extensity. In our model, an emboldening emotional climate provides the “fuel” that is sparked by a triggering event. As an intermediate step, we expect that the activated potential translates into action through collective self-organization. By combining triggering events, collective emotions and self-organization, SPARK investigates an innovative and comprehensive explanation of the non-linear short-term escalation dynamics of collective mass behaviour in cultural identity conflicts. The project is structured in three work packages (WP). WP1 establishes the empirical database. In a second step (WP2), we subject the model to a quantitative test. For this purpose, we measure collective self-organization and emotional climates by conducting network and sentiment analyses. The third step (WP3) consists of a qualitative test of the model. Based on the statistical evaluation, we select typical and deviant cases for process tracing analysis. In cooperation with local case experts, conflict-specific case studies are prepared and subjected to a systematic cross-case comparison.