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Rethinking Violence

States and Non-State Actors in Conflict

Edited by Erica Chenoweth and Adria Lawrence

Publication Year: 2010

An original argument about the causes and consequences of political violence and the range of strategies employed.

Published by: The MIT Press

Series: Belfer Center Studies in International Security

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-x

This project would have been impossible without the help and support of numerous friends and colleagues. At the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, we are grateful to Steven Miller, Stephen Walt, Robert Rotberg, and Sean Lynn-Jones for their support...

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Foreword. Internal Conflict and Political Violence: New Developments in Research

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pp. xi-xiii

It is no exaggeration to say that the study of internal conflict and political violence has undergone a remarkable boom during the past twenty years. This area of study— how order, conflict, and violence interact—has grown from a peripheral topic to a central concern for scholars of both comparative politics and...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-19

Recent years have seen the emergence of a growing subfield within political science that brings together scholars of international security, warfare, civil war, area studies, and comparative politics: the study of political violence. The increasing attention and resources devoted to studies of conflict and violence...

Part I. Rethinking State Violence

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2. Targeting Civilians to Win? Assessing the Military Effectiveness of Civilian Victimization in Interstate War

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pp. 23-56

War, as Clausewitz argued long ago, is an act of violence in which actors attempt to impose their will on each other. Although Clausewitz depicted war as a duel on a larger scale that is most frequently won when one side or the other captures the enemy’s capital or destroys its army in battle, the impact...

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3. War, Collaboration, and Endogenous Ethnic Polarization: The Path to Ethnic Cleansing

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pp. 57-81

To what extent does the depth of ethnic cleavages play a role in the process that leads to ethnic cleansing? The question is important, as the conventional explanation for ethnic cleansing takes deep ethnic cleavages as the main exogenous variable that explains this phenomenon. The idea is that in societies where...

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4. Assimilation and its Alternatives: Caveats in the Study of Nation-building Policies

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pp. 83-116

This chapter explains how states choose nation-building policies. Specifically, I focus on the strategic choice to use exclusionary state-planned nation-building policies toward non-core groups instead of assimilating them or granting them minority rights. I define nation-building as the process whereby ruling...

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5. Ethnic Partition Under the League of Nations: The Cases of Population Exchanges in the Interwar Balkans

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pp. 117-140

The rationale given for the postwar Greco-Turkish population exchange more than eighty years ago foreshadows the contemporary theory of ethnic partition. Partition theory is premised on the notion that societies destroyed by ethnic violence are so riven by hatreds and fears that they cannot be mended. Although...

Part II. Rethinking Non-state Violence

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6. Driven to Arms? The Escalation to Violence in Nationalist Conflicts

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pp. 143-171

On the morning of August 20, 1955, residents of Oued Zem, a small town in Morocco southeast of Casablanca, took to the streets armed with rifles, knives, and pistols, demanding the return of the exiled sultan Mohammed V and an end to French colonialism in Morocco. Armed tribesmen from the countryside rode down...

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7. Dissent, Repression, and Inconsistency

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pp. 173-195

States of all kinds repress dissent—both violent and non-violent protest. What are the effects of such repression? Much attention has been devoted to understanding whether repression increases or decreases dissent in general and whether repression of specific protest strategies, violent or non-violent, can induce...

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8. A Composite-Actor Approach to Conflict Behavior

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pp. 197-219

What brings an insurgent, protest, or self-determination movement to use violence as opposed to other strategies? This question is an important starting point for research on civil and asymmetric conflicts, increasingly dominant forms of conflict since the latter half of the twentieth century. With the aim of crafting...

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9. The Turn to Violence in Self-Determination Struggles in Chechnya and Punjab

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pp. 221-247

Why do some intrastate conflicts turn violent, while others do not? This is the question motivating this chapter. Focusing on Chechnya’s path toward a violent conflict with Moscow in the early 1990s and Punjab’s path to a violent struggle with Delhi a decade earlier, the study examines the turn to violence in...

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10. Mobilization and Resistance: A Framework for Analysis

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pp. 249-275

Recent studies of unconventional warfare have attempted to evaluate the conditions under which “weak” actors defeat ostensibly “stronger” adversaries. Some scholars have argued, for instance, that non-state armed groups are capable of defeating conventionally superior state adversaries when they employ indirect...


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pp. 277-279


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pp. 280-285

About the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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pp. 286-289

E-ISBN-13: 9780262266086
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262014205

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Belfer Center Studies in International Security