Social Conflict Analysis Database

The Social Conflict Analysis Database (SCAD) is a resource for conducting research and analysis on various forms of social and political unrest in Africa. It includes over 20,000 social conflict events across Africa from 1990 to 2011, including riots, strikes, protests, coups, and communal violence.  Winner, 2017 J. David Singer Data Innovations Award, American Political Science Association.

By tracking forms of conflict not covered in traditional datasets on civil and interstate war, SCAD gives policymakers and researchers new tools to analyze conflict patterns and possible intervention strategies in Africa. While previous data sources have focused on large-scale conflicts like civil and international wars, SCAD catalogues the myriad ways conflict manifests as political and social disorder.

SCAD includes protests, riots, strikes, inter-communal conflict, government violence against civilians, and other forms of social conflict not systematically tracked in other conflict datasets. Each event record contains information on the location, timing, and magnitude of social conflict events, as well as the actors, targets, issues of contention, and government response. While other data sources contain rich information about armed conflict in Africa, the goal of the SCAD project is to provide researchers, journalists, NGOs, and the policy community more detail about other forms of social conflict.


SCAD is designed to provide users with a comprehensive, methodologically rigorous resource for analyzing social conflict events across the Africa and with selected countries in Latin America, all with a population of more than 1 million. It compiles events reported by the Associated Press (AP) and Agence France Presse (AFP) from 1990-2011. SCAD is designed for use by academic researchers, as well as by journalists, non-governmental organizations, policy makers, and others interested in African politics.

Each record in SCAD refers to a unique social conflict event. To define an event, the researchers determined the principal actor(s) involved, the target(s), as well as the issues at stake. Events can last a single day or several months. A conflict is coded as a single event if the actors, targets, and issues are the same and if there is a distinct, continuous series of actions over time.

The project sources information from keyword searches in Lexis-Nexis, using the AP and AFP news wires. These sources offer the best possible comprehensiveness, coverage, and reliability. The team sorted through thousands of articles and selected those that were related to social conflict events. When there was a discrepancy in reporting, the team took care to use the most widely reported figures and the most recent news coverage about an issue. 

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Project Partners

SCAD was part of the Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) project at the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT-Austin

Research Team

  • Cullen Hendrix, Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
  • Idean Salehyan, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of North Texas