Social conflict entails a variety of social phenomena, including international conflict, civil war, genocide, organized violence, insurgencies and rebellions, terrorism, riots, etc. Given the heterogeneity of social phenomena encompassed by this notion, it is not surprising that a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches have been applied to study it, ranging from formal game theoretic models to the hermeneutics of narratives. Social conflict has also been studied by means of complex systems research methods, such as agent-based social simulation. We conduct a review of the main formal-theoretical approaches to social conflict including agent-based modeling. We promote the usage of agent-based social simulation for it affords shedding light onto the nature of generative processes related to social conflict. We discuss the implications of such an approach to the study of social conflict against orthodox research designs and point toward its advantages which may facilitate development of more adequate conflict prevention and conflict management procedures.
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