Published March 31, 2008 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Local orders in warring times: Armed groups' and civilians' strategies in civil war



The type of relations between insurgent and counter-insurgent armed groups on the one hand, and the civilians with whom they interact on the other, is subject to wide variation. At times, armed groups try to approximate the behavior of states by extracting taxes, imposing new social norms, establishing predictable and routinized systems of rule enforcement, and supplying public goods. Yet, at other times, armed groups interact with civilians only through the use of violence. There is variation not only across wars and armed groups, but also within these organizations. Civilian populations, for their part, also vary in how they respond to the presence of such groups. Some stay and collaborate, some choose to leave their hometowns and become refugees or internally displaced persons, some fight back by forming self-defense groups, and some enlist as full-time combatants. What explains a group’s decision to employ a specific strategy towards civilians? How can a civilian’s response to the presence of armed groups in her hometown be explained?



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2153-6767 (ISSN)