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Participation in Rebellion: Rebel Troop Size, 1946-2007
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the question of participation in rebellion using new time-series data on over 400 rebel groups during the period 1946-2007. Drawing on a number of theoretical literatures, the study investigates factors commonly argued to lead to increased levels of participation. Surprisingly, the study finds that neither material incentives (contraband, oil in conflict zone) nor social incentives (ethnic mobilization) were associated with larger rebel groups. Instead, security concerns are important in determining participation; the study finds that individuals are more likely to join rebel groups when repression is at intermediate levels. The results also find that gdp per capita is robustly correlated with larger troop sizes. This is the first cross-national study to explicitly investigate participation, and its findings present a number of challenges to common arguments within the civil war literature.

Keyword [en]
civil conflict, civil war, participation, rebel groups, rebellion, rebels
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-120218OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-120218DiVA: diva2:302877
Available from: 2010-03-10 Created: 2010-03-10 Last updated: 2010-03-18
In thesis
1. Raising Rebels: Participation and Recruitment in Civil War
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Raising Rebels: Participation and Recruitment in Civil War
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Why do some individuals choose to participate in rebellion, and what recruitment tactics can rebel groups use to affect this decision? These questions are central to the study of civil war because rebel groups must raise troops in order to challenge the government and to survive as an organization. Indeed, much of the civil war literature builds on participation as a key causal mechanism, yet it is rarely specified in theoretical or empirical models. The dissertation attempts to open this black box by tackling three sets of gaps in the existing literature; these relate to the assumptions made in most studies, the theoretical bases for understanding participation and recruitment, and the record of empirical testing. Essay I examines whether a particular type of recruitment practice, ethnic mobilization, is associated with higher levels of violence. The results show that when rebel groups mobilize along ethnic lines, there is a higher risk for intensified violence. Essay II employs new data on rebel troop size to study what factors affect participation in rebellion. The findings indicate that concerns over personal security rather than economic and social incentives best explain participation. Essay III addresses coerced recruitment, positing that conflict dynamics affect whether rebel groups shift from voluntary to coerced recruitment. Using micro-level data on the conflict in Nepal, the results show that the more losses rebels suffer on the battlefield, the greater the number of individuals they subsequently abduct. Finally, the Nepal case study presented in Essay IV suggests that indoctrination as a recruitment strategy was more important to rebel leaders than other facets of the insurgency. Taken together, this dissertation indicates that there is analytical leverage to be had by examining not only the individual’s decision to participate, but also the rebel group’s recruitment strategy, and that these rebel strategies are flexible and contingent on conflict dynamics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: , 2010. 40 p.
Series
Report / Department of Peace and Conflict Research, ISSN 0566-8808 ; 89
Keyword
civil conflict, civil war, ethnic conflict, rebellion, rebel groups, rebel recruitment, participation, coercion, indoctrination, Nepal
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-120220 (URN)978-91-506-2129-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-06-05, Auditorium Minus, Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-05-11 Created: 2010-03-10 Last updated: 2014-11-05Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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