Dispute Inflation
Much work has examined the phenomenon of dispute escalation, whereby the concrete measures state actors take edge them closer to war. Less attention has been devoted to the ways in which state actors’ perceptions of what is at stake in a dispute can also change, with important consequences for the likelihood of conflict. This talk examines the phenomenon of dispute inflation – wherein a contest over an object or issue assumes ever greater stakes and significance for its protagonists – and identifies three different mechanisms that can generate increasing non-material stakes. The upshot is that theoretically even a minor dispute can grow into a major conflict due to swelling stakes, especially when dispute inflation spirals. To illustrate these dynamics at work, the talk looks to recent developments in the dispute between the People’s Republic of China and Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.


Todd Hall is Professor of International Relations at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford and Tutor for Politics at St Anne’s College. He is currently serving as the director of the University of Oxford’s China Centre.

A sandwich lunch will be available from 12.40.
Date: 9 November 2021, 13:00 (Tuesday, 5th week, Michaelmas 2021)
Venue: Manor Road Building, Manor Road OX1 3UQ
Venue Details: Seminar Room G
Speaker: Professor Todd Hall (University of Oxford)
Organising department: Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR)
Organiser: Changing Character of War Centre (CCW)
Organiser contact email address: info@ccw.ox.ac.uk
Part of: Changing Character of War Lunchtime Seminars
Booking required?: Not required
Cost: Free
Audience: Public
Editor: Elizabeth Robson