Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Political Science

First Advisor

Harvey Starr


How do rivalries end? Rivalry denotes the most conflict-prone relationship between two states. The studies on rivalry termination, so far, have examined when and why rivalries end, yet the question of how rivalries end has not been sufficiently explored. The how question asks a researcher to investigate the process. Therefore, the previous duration-approach assuming rivalry termination as an event, cannot adequately examine the process of rivalry termination. In this study, I understand rivalry termination as an evolutionary and trial-and-error process. It is a process that involves interactions between conflict and conflict management on one hand, and long-term factors (i.e. root causes) in combination with short-term causes on the other. I employ a configurational approach (Ragin 2008) to analyze the causal complexities permeating rivalry termination phenomenon.

The primary purpose of the dissertation is to develop a typological theory that explains contemporary processes of rivalry termination. I examine two key questions critically related to the rivalry termination phenomenon: what makes rivalries endure and how do rivalries end. A macro/historical-process framework can be used to examine questions related to the formation and continuation of the rivalry process, i.e. how and why rivalries endure. A micro-level process framework can be used to examine the final phase of rivalry development, i.e. how rivalries actually end their conflictual relationship. The combination of macro/historical-process and micro-process frameworks informs this study's holistic theory of the rivalry termination process. The holistic theory argues that understanding rivalry origins in conjunction with the post-1945 historical context is crucial to examining both the development and later termination of contemporary rivalries. It is also important to note that contemporary rivalries follow the pattern of rivalry consolidation, peace agreement, and a post-agreement implementation process to successfully end their rivalry relationships. Therefore the necessary and sufficient conditions for rivalry termination must involve both rivalry peace agreements and a successful reinforcement process for the agreements.

In order to understand the dynamics of the rivalry termination process, I will examine a meaningful subpopulation of rivalry cases, the consensus rivalries. They are the rivalry cases which are defined as such by a number of scholars despite differences in definition and operationalization. In the dissertation, sixteen contemporary rivalry cases are examined using Ragin's (2000; 2008) Fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparison Analysis (fsQCA). In addition to fsQCA, I also examine three critical junctures of peace agreements in the inter-Korean rivalry using George and Bennett's (2005) process-tracing technique. Although this study only examines a subset of rivalry cases (contemporary rivalry dyads), I will argue that its macro-micro framework and holistic theory of rivalry termination process are largely applicable to broader populations of rivalry.


© 2012, Soonkun Oh