Are Insurgents Any Different from Counterinsurgents? A Systematic Integration and Validation of Motivational Studies from Colombia
Forthcoming in Análisis Político
29 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2013 Last revised: 13 Nov 2015
Date Written: August 16, 2013
Are combatants from insurgent and counterinsurgent groups the same people? Evidence suggests that they go through different war experiences and socialization processes and may also behave differently after demobilization. In this study, we demonstrate that members of guerrilla and paramilitary groups in Colombia were already driven by clearly distinguishable motivations in their decision to join the respective groups, beyond contextual constraints. This implies that the insurgent-counterinsurgent cleavage does not only stem from macro-level conditions, but is also situated in the minds of potential recruits since before they join. Our analysis is based on a systematic integration of relevant hypotheses extracted from earlier studies and a validation of their findings with a survey database of 1,485 ex-combatants in Colombia.
Keywords: Insurgency, counterinsurgency, war motivations, conflict, Colombia, research synthesis, validation
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