Statebuilding, Social Order and Violence: Evidence from U.S. Reconstruction
61 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2018 Last revised: 12 Oct 2018
Date Written: July 31, 2018
Why does statebuilding provoke violence? In this paper, we identify a new mechanism through which statebuilding leads to violence. We argue that statebuilding is more likely to cause violence when it succeeds, specifically, when it succeeds in reducing social hierarchies between historically repressed and privileged communities. Effective reductions to long-standing social inequities trigger resentment, anxiety and violence among privileged communities leading to vi- olence against repressed communities. Furthermore, because historically repressed communities work to institutionalize and preserve socio-economic gains arising from statebuilding interven- tions, such gains in status, as well as violence in response to them, persist over the long-term. We quantitatively test our arguments using historical, county-level data on post-U.S. Civil War Reconstruction and we supply both quantitative and qualitative evidence for our mechanisms. Our findings support our theory, and have implications for our understanding of how actors consolidate social orders, and how societies respond to these efforts.
Keywords: statebuilding, violence, civil war, mixed methods
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation