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The Logic of Violence in Civil War

By Stathis N. Kalyvas


and civil war. This interest is driven by two political developments: first, the decline of interstate wars and the concomitant rise of internal or civil wars (David 1997); and second, the decline of civil wars that are classified as “ideological ” or class-based and the concomitant rise of conflicts classified as ethnic (Brubaker and Laitin 1998). Most research has focused on the causes of ethnic civil wars (Fearon and Laitin 1999). We know far less about the dynamics of civil war violence per se. First, I introduce three conceptual distinctions: (a) between “violence ” and “(violent) conflict, ” (b) between “violence in times of peace ” and “violence in times of war, ” and (c) between different types of violence based on the intersection of two criteria: the purpose and the production of violence. Second, I sketch a simple model of violence in civil war based on a corresponding theoretical understanding of the phenomenon. Third, I present preliminary systematic empirical evidence from Greece. Because the data come from a civil war which lacked the kind of deep ethnic, religious, and even class, cleavages deemed necessary for the eruption of large-scale violence, this paper provides a warning against making attractive but problematic connections between ethnic cleavages and high levels of violence. Likewise, this paper suggests that the widespread perception of civil war violence as a random, chaotic, and anarchical process (first suggested by Thucydides and Hobbes) or a phenomenon better (or even exclusively) approached from the perspective of passions and emotions are not warranted

Publisher: University Press
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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