Ana Arjona, Nelson Kasfir, Zachariah Mampilly

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

9 Scopus citations


Governance by non-state actors is emerging as an important arena of inquiry for a variety of disciplines (Risse 2011). In a shifting global order, state-centric understandings have proven inadequate for comprehending the diverse ways in which governance appears in the contemporary period. Rebel governance, as this volume demonstrates, is a particularly fruitful subject worthy of further analysis for its pervasiveness as well as its absence from studies of governments. It is a field that promises fresh insight into conflicts both contemporary and historical, from Syria and Libya today to the American and Haitian civil wars of the past.Though the insights provided in these chapters resist easy summary, this conclusion reflects what we have learned from them and, most importantly, how, collectively, they advance our understanding of this emerging field. As the chapters demonstrate, insurgents initiate a wide array of activities when they establish rebel governance or sanction existing civilian institutions. While scholars have explored these activities individually, the approach taken in this book is to bring together these diverse activities under the rubric of “rebel governance,” enabling meaningful comparisons across and within cases.Discussing these activities together must be approached with caution. No author in this book has made an effort to describe all the activities that rebel organizations deploy to govern civilians. Rather, they discuss only those governance activities that illuminate the specific arguments they make about the causes or effects of particular features of rebel governance. Since the cases discussed here were not selected systematically, any generalizations can only be tentative.A necessary step toward theorizing rebel governance is categorizing its variation. Our authors offer two approaches. Kasfir suggests differentiating rebel patterns of rule by the substantive governance activities insurgents organize – that is, whether they concentrate their energies on one of three sets of activities, or some combination of all three. First, do the rebels encourage civilian political input such as popular assemblies or elections of local residents? Second, do they provide administrative services including education, health, and dispute resolution? And third, do they organize or regulate commercial production ranging from the activities of local traders to the machinations of multinational firms? Arjona proposes a somewhat simpler scheme. She divides rebel governance into two categories: cases where rebels intervene minimally into civilian affairs (“aliocracy”) and cases where they intrude comprehensively (“rebelocracy”).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRebel Governance in Civil War
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781316182468
ISBN (Print)9781107102224
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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