The Roots of Coercion and Insurgency

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Anecdotal evidence points to a significant relationship between repression and rebellion and yet the quantitative civil war literature ignores state strategies, deeming them endogenous or perfectly correlated with polity type. This article seeks to bring the state back in again and examine the causes of states' strategies and the effects of these strategies on non-violent mobilisation. It finds that, under certain circumstances, a state's response to a peaceful opposition movement depends not on its institutions or capacity; rather, it is a function of the state's control of the national security apparatus, autonomy from its constituents, and resources fungible for reform. Additionally, the article concludes that state policy can play a more significant role in explaining the onset of civil conflict than do structural variables such as per capita income, terrain and population size. Historical analysis of coercion and insurgency in the counterfactual case of Honduras illustrates the plausibility of this argument.


“The Roots of Coercion and Insurgency: Exploiting the Counterfactual Case,” Conflict, Security & Development 11, 2 (2011)


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