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Rebel constituencies and rebel violence against civilians in civil conflicts


Ottmann, Martin


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Abstract This article examines how the civilian constituencies of rebel groups affect their use of violence against civilians. While past research has acknowledged the importance of rebel constituencies, they are primarily seen as only having an indirect effect on rebel behavior. In this study, I conceptualize rebel constituencies as central political opportunity structures for rebel groups providing incentives and imposing restraints on their use of strategic violence and the violent behavior of individual rebel fighters. In particular, I hypothesize that a constituency overlap between rebels and the government of a state acts as a restraint making large-scale violence against civilians less likely. In contrast, high levels of constituency fractionalization and polarization induce strategic violence and predatory behavior, increasing the chances of large-scale civilian victimization. I conduct a statistical analysis of rebel one-sided violence in sub-Saharan Africa using newly collected data on rebel constituencies to test these hypotheses. The results only provide limited empirical support for the hypothesized relationship between constituency overlap and rebel violence against civilians. There is clear empirical evidence, however, that heavily fractionalized and polarized rebel constituencies are associated with higher levels of violence against civilians.
Thesaurusschlagwörter civilian population; victimization; Africa South of the Sahara; propensity to violence; statistical analysis; structural violence; voting; conflict situation; disposition to conflict; social actor; election; institutional factors; legitimation; guarantee of domination
Klassifikation politische Willensbildung, politische Soziologie, politische Kultur; soziale Probleme
Freie Schlagwörter Civil conflict; rebel groups; rebel constituencies; violence against civilians
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2015
Seitenangabe S. 1-25
Zeitschriftentitel Conflict Management and Peace Science (2015)
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0738894215570428
ISSN 1549-9219
Status Postprint; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz Deposit Licence - Keine Weiterverbreitung, keine Bearbeitung
Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.