Today it is known why, how and when ethnic conflicts erupt, the form they will take, and the factors associated with their de-escalation. However most research continues to select heavily on the dependent variable while comparatively less examines questions about the timing, escalation and the duration of group interactions in both its cooperative and conflictual forms. In order to understand why some ethnic conflicts are prone to violence while others are not, the author argues programmes are needed to map out patterns of co-existence on a global scale.