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A model of riots dynamics: Shocks, diffusion and thresholds

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  • We introduce and analyze several variants of a system of differential equations which model the dynamics of social outbursts, such as riots. The systems involve the coupling of an explicit variable representing the intensity of rioting activity and an underlying (implicit) field of social tension. Our models include the effects of exogenous and endogenous factors as well as various propagation mechanisms. From numerical and mathematical analysis of these models we show that the assumptions made on how different locations influence one another and how the tension in the system disperses play a major role on the qualitative behavior of bursts of social unrest. Furthermore, we analyze here various properties of these systems, such as the existence of traveling wave solutions, and formulate some new open mathematical problems which arise from our work.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 35K55, 35K57; Secondary: 35B99.


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