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States of Insurgency: Conflict Transformation in Civil Wars through Social Services

Robert Kevlihan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

November 6, 2009

Under what circumstances can the provision of social services, including that provided as humanitarian assistance, contribute to the management and transformation of civil wars? This dissertation addresses this question through a qualitative comparative analysis of social service provision during three civil wars - Northern Ireland (1969-1998), southern Sudan (1983-2005) and Tajikistan (1992-1997). Drawing from theoretical advances in the field of contentious politics, it identifies two forms of brokerage, namely opportunity hoarding and exploitation as key causal mechanisms related to social service provision during civil wars. Drawing on field research in each of the three cases considered, this dissertation argues that in situations where social services are provided in a relatively autonomous way from categorical groups engaged in conflict, social services can materially impact the incentive structure of insurgencies, resulting in organizational changes that in turn can increase prospects for peace. These changes arise because of brokerage opportunities between local populations and social service systems created by autonomous social service systems. Furthermore, in situations where social services are of a relatively high capacity, social service systems can, over time, also address social grievances, taking these issues off the table when peace talks actually take place.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 57

Keywords: Sudan, Southern Sudan, Northern Ireland, Tajikistan, Civil War, Conflict Transformation, Insurgencies, Governance

JEL Classification: H56, I29, I19, I38, L39, N47, N44, N45, O19

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Date posted: February 28, 2010 ; Last revised: January 5, 2011

Suggested Citation

Kevlihan, Robert, States of Insurgency: Conflict Transformation in Civil Wars through Social Services (November 6, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1559639 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1559639

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