Back to search

SAMF-Fagkomiteen for samfunnsvitenskap

Disaggregating Civil Wars (ECRP - 2007)

Awarded: NOK 2.8 mill.

This is a collaborative project that disaggregates conflict processes in order to uncover the causal mechanisms that generate civil violence. The current quantitative literature focuses mainly on national-level attributes while neglecting historical and g eographical contexts. We challenge key assumptions and findings of this literature, in particular (A) the putative irrelevance of ethnicity as a cause of conflict, (B) the emphasis of opportunity structures at the expense of motivations, and (C) the downp laying of transnational mechanisms. These are the main research questions that will be addressed by each individual project: Project A: Contextualizing the Institutional Mechanisms of Ethno-Nationalist Insurgencies Project B: The Strategic Use of Violence for Political Goals Project C: Civil War in Transnational Perspective All these research efforts rely on a centre-periphery model pitting a state against one or more peripheral groups. We adopt three guiding principles: 1. Move below the national level and focus on regions and groups, both theoretically and empirically. 2. Analyze cross-border linkages, i.e. refugee flows and external support for pheripheral groups. 3. Explore how institutions and identities on conflict processes. Project B shall be ba sed at RPIO. The contribution is organized as three tasks. The first concentrates on how rebel groups organize, with a particular emphasis on geography. The second investigates the whys of using violence for political goals, emphasizing under what conditi ons and whrere this strategy is likely to be chosen. The third task focuses on the spillover effects of these issues through the displacement of populations. This focus on the strategic aspects of rebellion contributes to theory-building. The development of geographically disaggregated GIS datasets allows us to reappraise dominant hypotheses. Moreover, such data offers the opportunity to produce hazard maps that can identify areas most at risk for intrastate violence.

Funding scheme:

SAMF-Fagkomiteen for samfunnsvitenskap