“Civil war” occupies many different places within the popular and academic imaginations: Confederate generals doing battle with Lincoln’s army; Latin American revolutionaries waging war against right-wing dictators; African peasants fighting and dying in wars of profit, plunder, or liberation; European partisans warring over honor and nation; the Sunni Awakening transforming the Iraq war. The ubiquity of civil war, and its fundamental effects on the societies that experience it, suggests that it should be considered as much a part of the political landscape as the state system itself. At core, all civil wars are a battle for control between a government and its competitors over civilians and the territory upon which they reside. Investigating how such competitors interact with the populations they seek to control is elemental to our understanding of both the dynamics and consequences of civil war. This volume draws comparisons between a variety of recent and historical conflicts from around the globe in regards to a single dimension: the governance of civilians by armed groups.When rebels secure territory, they must decide how they will interact with local residents. They can rob and rape them, they can recruit them, they can ignore them, or they can try to govern them – for better or worse. The choice a rebel group makes is always momentous for civilians. A surprisingly large number of rebel groups engage in some sort of governance, ranging from creating minimal regulation and informal taxation to forming popular assemblies, elaborate bureaucracies, schools, courts, and health clinics. Some also focus on organizing non-combatants for commercial pursuits. Civilians have their own interests and, although usually unarmed, often have unexpected influence over how they are governed. This book examines what rebels do when they decide to govern, why they do it, and how civilians respond.Over the past decade, analysts have made important advances in furthering our understanding of civil war. Scholars have shed light on many aspects of the relationship between rebels and civilians, including the mechanics of violence, recruitment, collaboration, and displacement. Deploying a variety of methodological approaches and often braving difficult research environments, this scholarship moves us beyond broad generalizations and generic correlations to document and decipher the behavior of those engaging in protracted political violence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)