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45 J. Conflict Resol. 3 (2001)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr45 and id is 1 raw text is: 







Conflict-Carrying Capacity,

Political Crisis, and Reconstruction


A  FRAMEWORK FOR THE EARLY WARNING
OF  POLITICAL SYSTEM VULNERABILITY



J. CRAIG   JENKINS
Department of Sociology
Ohio State University
DOUG BOND
Program on Nonviolent Sanctions and Cultural Survival
Harvard University
Center of Excellence in Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance




   The early warning of protracted political violence needs firm empirical footing in dynamic indicators of
the political processes leading to political crises. This study provides a conceptual framework for the analy-
sis of conflict-carrying capacity (or CCC) defined as the ability of political systems to regulate intense inter-
nal conflicts. CCC is indexed by the multiplicative interaction between the proportions of civil contention,
state repression, and violence. The PANDA Project (1983-1994) is used to illustrate the usefulness of this
CCC  index in capturing system stability in an institutionalized democracy (the United States), a bureau-
cratic-authoritarian regime (Mexico), an institutionalized Communist regime (China), and a peaceful demo-
cratic transition (Poland). It provides early warning signals of civil war (Algeria, Sri Lanka) and moves
toward political stability (Peru). Civil contention and state repression are not destabilizing per se. Rather it is
the simultaneous combination of these with violent contention that leads to internal political crises and,
alternatively, to political stabilization.




There   has  been considerable  discussion of the need  for and the feasibility of early
warning  for political crises (Gurr and Harff 1996; Davies  and  Gurr  1998; Schmeidl
and Jenkins  1998a; Tellis, Szayna, and Winnefeld  1997; Carnegie  Commission   on  the
Prevention  of Deadly  Conflicts 1998)  and the monitoring  of political reconstruction
efforts (Crocker and Osler Hampson 1996),   but limited progress in developing empiri-
cally based dynamic  indicators that capture the political processes leading to these cri-
ses or their resolution. Drawing  on  the distinction between  risk assessment, which
focuses  on the structural conditions leading to political tensions, and early warning,
which  identifies the dynamic factors leading to political crises (Davies and Gurr 1998,



   AUTHORS'   NOTE: This research was supported by a grant to Jenkins from the National Science Foun-
dation (No. SBR-971095) and to Bond from the Center of Excellence (ISS No. 12088).
JOURNAL  OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION, Vol. 45 No. 1, February 2001 3-31
@ 2001 Sage Publications, Inc.
                                                                                      3


from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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