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October 3 Faculty Research Forum to explore effects of political violence on urbanization

ISSUED: 6 September 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The first Shepherd University Faculty Research Forum of the school year will feature Dr. Robert M. Anthony, associate professor of sociology, giving a talk titled “Forced Urbanization” on Wednesday, October 3, at noon in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Anthony’s research, which was co-authored with Dr. Kristopher Robinson of Northern Illinois University, offers a first step toward understanding the consequences of intranational political violence on the growth of a country’s largest cities. In the study, Anthony and Robinson used theory and research from studies on forced migration and internal displacement to construct several hypotheses to assess the impact that various forms of political violence within a country’s borders have on the growth of major urban areas in the developing world. Hypotheses are tested using a cross-national time-series sample of 85 developing nations from 1974 to 2005.

The results provide strong empirical evidence that various forms of intranational political violence are significantly related to population growth in a nation’s largest cities. Specifically, attacks on government personnel are associated with an increase in population growth among a nation’s largest cities. Violence targeting civilians are associated with decelerated growth in the largest city, but increased growth in major secondary cities. Finally, increases in the intensity and duration of civil wars are associated with decreases in population among secondary cities but exhibit a curvilinear, or increase followed by a decrease, growth pattern in a nation’s largest city. It is argued that the findings are at least partially explained by the spatial logics that arise from a given form of political violence, and concludes that more attention should be given to studying the consequences of political violence on the urbanization process for rapidly urbanizing nations.

Anthony received a Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 2009 and joined Shepherd’s Department of Sociology and Geography in 2013. He has published research in leading urban studies journals, including “Cities” and “Urban Affairs Review.” His most recent research on the impact of political violence on growth, appears in “Cities.” Anthony is currently working to collect time-series regional data on economic, demographic, and health issues, with the goal of establishing a research center that will serve the Eastern Panhandle and promote student student-led research at Shepherd.

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