Ideology is important to conflict. Shared beliefs create a sense of group identity, specify targets of hostility and enable coordinated action. Understanding ideology is key to effective conflict resolution and management. But, up to now, it has been poorly understood. It is presumed to be something abstract or irrational, and best disregarded in the search for concrete explanations and solutions.

Using complexity theory, we can account for the multiplicity of processes that combine to generate ideologies. At the same time, any effort to understand human behaviour must take into consideration the peculiar properties of the human mind, and so engage with cognitive science. Combining these approaches, the authors have developed two methods that can be applied toward clarifying the role of ideology in conflict situations: Cognitive-Affective Mapping and Ideological State Space. These methods have been developed into a powerful set of analytical tools that researchers and practitioners can use to understand, manage and resolve conflict.

CIGI Papers present in-depth analysis and discussion on governance-related subjects. They include policy papers that present CIGI experts' positions or contributions to policy debates, and background papers that contain research findings, insights and data that contribute to the development of policy positions.