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Title [en]
Threatening Ties: Understanding wartime civilian targeting along ethnic lines
Abstract [en]
Project description:
Massacres and violence against civilian populations is a prevalent feature of many civil wars. While ethnic divisions often seem salient in accounting for the patterns of civilian abuse, not all warring parties target civilians based on their ethnicity. This variation is largely unexplained by existing studies.Addressing this gap, the research project will seek to identify the conditions under which civilians are more likely to be collectively targeted in internal armed conflicts on the basis of their ethnic identity. The project proposes that the relationship between ethnic group affiliation and civilian victimization is conditional on the strategic importance of the group to the opposing warring actor, with civilian targeting being part of a strategy to weaken the military and political power of the adversary. A key theoretical contribution of this project will be to specify the conditions under which ethnic groups are seen to constitute such critical bases of support, and how this influences the likelihood of wartime atrocities along ethnic lines.To evaluate these propositions, the project is in the process of collecting new, unique global data on the ethnic affiliation of civilian targets for all civil wars since 1989. The data collection is a collaborative undertaking with Professor Lars Erik Cederman (ETH, Zurich), Professor Simon Hug (University of Geneva) and Assistant Professor Livia Schubiger (London School of Economics).Understanding the logic of violence against civilians is crucial for the ability to identify conflicts at risk of escalating into situations of mass atrocity and this project thus carries important policy implications in providing a framework for improving human security.
Publications (3 of 3) Show all publications
Fjelde, H., Hultman, L., Sollenberg, M. & Sundberg, R. (2018). Spatial Patterns of Violence against Civilians. In: Backer, David A., Ravi Bhavnani, & Paul K. Huth (Ed.), Peace and Conflict 2017: . New York, NY: Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatial Patterns of Violence against Civilians
2018 (English)In: Peace and Conflict 2017 / [ed] Backer, David A., Ravi Bhavnani, & Paul K. Huth, New York, NY: Routledge, 2018Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York, NY: Routledge, 2018
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-333495 (URN)978-1-857-43912-0 (ISBN)978-1-351-21166-6 (ISBN)
Available from: 2017-11-14 Created: 2017-11-14 Last updated: 2022-01-29
Fjelde, H., Hultman, L. & Sollenberg, M. (2016). Violence against Civilians in Civil War. In: David A. Backer, Ravi Bhavnani, and Paul K. HUth (Ed.), Peace and Conflict 2016: (pp. 42-49). Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Violence against Civilians in Civil War
2016 (English)In: Peace and Conflict 2016 / [ed] David A. Backer, Ravi Bhavnani, and Paul K. HUth, Routledge, 2016, p. 42-49Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2016
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-314278 (URN)
Available from: 2017-02-01 Created: 2017-02-01 Last updated: 2022-01-29
Fjelde, H. & Hultman, L. (2014). Weakening the Enemy: A Disaggregated Study of Violence against Civilians in Africa. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 58(7), 1230-1257
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Weakening the Enemy: A Disaggregated Study of Violence against Civilians in Africa
2014 (English)In: Journal of Conflict Resolution, ISSN 0022-0027, E-ISSN 1552-8766, Vol. 58, no 7, p. 1230-1257Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

While case-based narratives from civil wars often stress the ethnic dimension of civilian atrocities, cross-national studies have found limited evidence in support of such contentions. Addressing this debate, we argue that warring actors often use ethnic affiliation to identify groups of suspected enemy supporters when individual wartime affiliations are not known. Since warring actors depend on their civilian constituencies for support, collective targeting of the enemy's co-ethnics becomes a strategy for weakening the enemy's capacity. Armed actors are thus more likely to engage in civilian abuse in areas where the enemy's ethnic constituency resides. To examine this argument, we combine new georeferenced event data on violence against civilians in African conflicts, 1989-2009, with spatial data on the location of the warring actors' ethnic constituencies. The analysis shows that the number of civilians killed by both governments and rebel groups is higher in areas inhabited by the enemy's ethnic constituency.

Keywords
civil war, violence against civilians, ethnic violence, ethnicity, spatial disaggregation
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-235624 (URN)10.1177/0022002713492648 (DOI)000342576900004 ()
Available from: 2014-11-11 Created: 2014-11-06 Last updated: 2020-06-26Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorFjelde, Hanne
Co-InvestigatorHultman, Lisa
Co-InvestigatorLindberg Bromley, Sara
Co-InvestigatorSollenberg, Margareta
Co-InvestigatorHuth, Paul
Co-InvestigatorAronson, Jacob
Coordinating organisation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research
Funder
Period
2015-01-01 - 2017-12-31
Keywords [en]
Violence against civilians
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:1966Project, id: 2014-01365_VR

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