Identifying Phases and Phase Dates

The heart of CASCON is the notion that all conflictual situations go through one or more identifiable phases. Phases were developed empirically by closely examining a sample of conflicts to identify significant transitions or sharp changes that would distinguish the different phases hypothesized in the model. At what point was a military option introduced into a dispute, giving it a new character of conflict? When, if at all, did hostilities break out? Were there distinct points at which the hostilities intensified or moderated? When did they cease?

Although CASCON's factors focus only on the first three phases of the Bloomfield-Leiss model, the subsequent history of the conflict is outlined in the Case Detail window and described in the precis. The beginning dates for phases and the date of settlement are shown in the Case Detail window and as headings for sections of the case precis. The date for a phase may appear as a specific date (e.g., 11/15/48) or a broader range of time, such as a month, a year, a decade, or a century (e.g., 10/95, 1492, 1870s, or 1700s). From the phase dates in the Case Detail window CASCON determines the highest level of intensity (dispute, conflict, or hostilities) and the latest phase (phase 1-5, or settlement) for the case.

Some of the cases in the historical database show several cycles of recurring intensification. These are included to document the subsequent history after the initial cycle analyzed with the factors. For user cases only a single cycle is available. To continue CASCON analysis for a potential renewed cycle of violence, it is best to start a new case, linking the two together by cross-references at the end of the first and the beginning of the second. To reuse work from the original case, it can be exported, its name and code modified, and imported back into CASCON as a separate case for further work. The descriptive data and codings from the original cases will need to be reevaluated to reflect changes from the progress of the situation.

Hint. When laying out the phase structure of a on-going situation, it is often effective to start at the present. The latest phase depends on the level of intensity of the case: Phase 1 for dispute, Phase 2 for conflict, Phase 3 for hostilities. The case history can then be reviewed, working from the present backward to find the beginning dates of the current phase and prior phases back to Phase 1.

Cascon Home  Copyright 1999 Lincoln P. Bloomfield and Allen Moulton