In the study of internal political violence and civil war, there is an increasing acknowledgement of the need to go below cross-country comparisons to investigate the role of certain dynamics claimed to cause (local) disruption. This paper systematically addresses variation in the level of political violence between provinces in Indonesia for the period 1990-2003, and focuses primarily on demographic, environmental and socioeconomic factors. It draws on a broad theoretical and empirical literature on civil war. Neo-Malthusian theory suggests that high population pressure on renewable resources like arable land, freshwater and forests may produce scarcity conflicts. The study further investigates the role of inter-group dynamics, in particular religious polarization and issues of inter-group and inter-regional (horizontal) inequalities.