Professor Bhavnani's research explores the micro-foundations of violence. Relying on agent-based computational modelling and disaggregated empirical analysis, his work underscores the endogenous relationships among the characteristics, beliefs, and interests of relevant actors; social mechanisms and emergent social structures that shape attitudes, decision-making and behaviour; and patterns of violence.
The emergence of complex patterns and relationships from behaviour and interactions at the individual level, together with the associated challenge of mapping outcomes to precipitating factors, calls for methodological innovation. The flexibility afforded by agent-based models (ABM) makes it possible to represent heterogeneous agents, each exhibiting non-linear rules of behavior and adaptive processes of various kinds, while interacting with a variety of other agents selected as a result of spatial and social interaction topologies. These are perhaps some of the fundamental reasons why ABM are capable of replicating phenomena commonly exhibited by complex adaptive systems. By using ABM to link theoretical conjectures to concrete empirical evidence, thereby isolating mechanisms and processes that tend to generate specific outcomes, Bhavnani’s work has defined an original program for studying violence at the micro-level.
Bhavnani currently serves as a Swiss member on the EU COST action "European Network for Conflict Research (ENCoRe)". During the 2012-2014 period, he organizes the International Relations/Political Science Research Colloquium Series at the Graduate Institute.
P u b l i c a t i o n s
Bhavnani, R., K. Donnay, D. Miodownik, M. Mor, and D. Helbing. 2013.