Civil War Onset and Duration

Lecture Questions
What factors contribute to civil war onset and duration?
Class Discussion Questions
1. How has war changed over the course of the twentieth century?
2. Are the causes of wars in the contemporary era underpinned by the same determinants as wars of the past?
3. Are the causes of internal (civil) wars theoretically/substantively different from those of international wars?
4. How do dominant explanations differ from one another?
Sample Example Questions
1. What are the determinants of civil war onset?
2. How has war changed over the course of the twentieth century?
3. Are the causes of wars in the contemporary era underpinned by the same determinants of wars of the past?
4. Are the causes of internal (civil) wars different from the causes of international wars?
5. What role do resources play in explaining civil wars?

Civil War

Defintions

Definition of “Civil War”
Definition of “Battle Deaths”
Summary of Definition
The Changing Character of War
There is the question of thresholds of civil war.
For instance, clashes between rebels groups, or rebels targeting civilians directly, doesn’t qualify of civil war.
There is also the problem of cyclical conflict (80% of civil wars are recurring).

Categorizing Civil Conflicts

Different ways to caterogize civil wars:
Organizational Capacity
Wartime Political Orders

Q: What factors contribute to civil war onset and duration?
Country-level factors; group-level factors; individual participation Q: Why do civil wars occur?
Causal pathways that poverty increases the likelihood of civil war: Causal pathways that geography increses the likelihood of civil war: The “Modernization Thesis (or ‘Huntington Model’)”: Causal pathways that natural resources increses the likelihood of civil war: Q What are macro-level trends?
Hypothesis regarding resources and state weakness: The implication of these competing explanations is that it is difficult to tease out causal process.
Q What are micro-level trends?
Hypothesis regarding resources and grievance: The implication is that people should observe nascent rebel groups critiquing resources extraction and targeting resources.

Hypothesis regarding resources and separatism: The implication is that people should observe separatist movements emerging/gainign strength following the discovery of exploitable resource wealth.

Questions and Levels of Analysis

Q: What other factors might incentivize groups to take up arms against the state?
Q: Do different types of conflict necessitate different types of explanations?
See for individual-level participation in insurgency; group-level determinants of violence;p and modes of rebel governance

Bibliography
Fazal (2014)
Kaldor (2012)
Kalyvas (2009)

Further Reading

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