Buhaug, Halvard & Nils Petter Gleditsch (2006) The Death of Distance? The Globalization of Armed Conflict, in Kahler, Miles; & Barbara F. Walter, eds, Territoriality and Conflict In an Era of Globalization. New York: Cambridge University Press (187–216).
interaction – positive as well as negative – requires opportunity as well as
motive. An important part of the former is geographical opportunity, which is
usually proxied by some measure of the distance between the interacting parties.
Certain well-publicized strands in the globalization literature have revived
older notions that the importance of distance is decreasing along with the
declining cost of interaction and have announced ‘the death of distance’ and
even ‘the end of geography’. What we call the interaction perspective, on the
other hand, emphasizes the relative costs of interaction, which are not directly
affected by changes in absolute cost. We argue that the importance of relative
cost, and thus of distance, should hold up in a globalized world. Our empirical
analysis shows that interstate disputes and wars are influenced by distance,
and continue to be so in a globalizing world. The analysis also demonstrates the
robust and persistent effect of the neighborhood on the risk of conflict.
Relatively globalized states are just as affected by a hostile neighborhood and
the distance decay as less liberal states. We discuss whether a virtual world
will finally relegate the distance-interaction relationship to the scrap-heap of
history, but reject this notion. We also reject the idea that the persistent
influence of distance on conflict is due merely to territorial
Research Professor at PRIO; Professor of Political Science, NTNU
Research Professor; Professor Emeritus of Political Science, NTNU
The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) conducts research on the conditions for peaceful relations between states, groups and people.