How Data Makes Us Perceive and Anticipate War


Kick-off conference of DATAWAR Project

How Data Makes Us Perceive and Anticipate War:
The impact of research practices in quantitative conflict analysis on perceptions of political violence by NGOs, political institutions, and the media.


Unlike many other projects currently funded to improve the understanding and prevention of political conflict and violence, this project does not aim at using data to develop and test yet another large-n statistical model. Instead, we will examine the ways in which scholars themselves produce and analyse ‘big data’, and how this may modify perceptions and interpretations of conflicts by practitioners and media actors. This ambition responds to the widespread calls for more reflexivity on the often-overseen biases and potential side-effects of data-driven and algorithm-based analysis of human behaviour.

The central contribution of the project will be to provide the first in-depth analysis of scientific practices of quantitative conflict studies and their impact on practitioner perceptions. The project will deliver thoroughly empirically grounded insights into the ways in which data shape and potentially disturb perceptions of war. This will not only provide an essential contribution to the emerging scholarship  problematizing the links between big data and security policy. It will also help to stimulate policy decisions on targeted funding for social science research by identifying gaps and biases in current quantitative research practices.


Frédéric Ramel, Sciences Po - CERI
- The rationale of the DATAWAR project

Thomas Lindemann & Grey Anderson, École Polytechnique / LinX
- Characteristics and problems relating to the collection and analysis of quantitative conflict data

Eric Sangar & Sami Makki, Sciences Po Lille / CERAPS
- Characteristics of the uses of conflict data by NGOs and military institutions

Thierry Balzacq, Sciences Po - CERI

 Scientific coordinators: Frédéric Ramel, Ariel Colonomos, Thierry Balzacq (Sciences Po – CERI) ; Thomas Lindemann, Marine Guillaume (École Polytechnique / LinX) ; Éric Sangar, Sami Makki (Sciences Po Lille / CERAPS).


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