Conflict as a determinant of territory

Philip A. Schrodt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A model of spatial conflict is developed in which the outcome of the conflict is determined by the number of individuals of the same “type”—e.g., religion, ethnic group, or political belief—adjacent to the conflict. The model is discussed with respect to society and supranational systems, but may also be applicable at lower levels. This model is shown to generate territorial grouping out of an initially random distribution of individual types. This model is compared to null models in which the outcome and initiation of conflicts do not depend on spatial relationships and it is shown that these models do not generate territories quickly. A model in which the initiation of conflicts is spatially independent is shown to be able to dissolve existing territorial groupings, which is a result similar to Herz's hypothesis on the demise of territorial states. It is also shown that two types cannot coexist, even with territories, unless they are equal in power. The model is developed as both a computer simulation and a mathematical model; a number of generalizations of the model are suggested which might make it applicable to other social and biological processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-50
Number of pages14
JournalBehavioral Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1981

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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