How Civilian Perceptions Affect Patterns of Violence and Competition in Multi-Party Insurgencies
Morgan L. Kaplan
University of Chicago - Department of Political Science
April 29, 2013
In multi-party insurgencies, does competition between insurgent groups always lead to an escalation of violence against the state? This paper demonstrates that civilian perceptions of groups and the tactics they employ can explain both the onset of inter-group resource competition, as well as how competing groups use violence to attract public support. I argue that when insurgent groups compete over public support, the intensity of violence against the state becomes increasingly motivated and constrained by how the public perceives violence. In this way, non-combatants have a more direct influence over insurgent violence than previously thought and may account for why some competitive environments may lead to decreases in violence intensity. This hypothesis stands in contrast to the existing literature on “outbidding,” which predicts that multi-factional environments always engender intra-insurgent resource competition and escalatory violence. Drawing on polling and interview data collected in the West Bank, I provide empirical evidence for my theory through a case study of Palestinian insurgent violence and public opinion during the Second Intifada (2000-2004).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: Insurgency, Civil War, Violence, Public Support, Civiliansworking papers series
Date posted: May 30, 2012 ; Last revised: April 29, 2013
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