A new working group at CSCW will have it's kick off meeting in February 2011. It will explore the social dynamics of civil war, including norms, emotions, discourses, identity, social networks, narratives, and gender.
How do we explain recruitment to and retention by rebel groups? Is it via coercion and sanctions? Incentives, material or social? Socialization and social norms? If identities are endogenous to civil conflict, where do we look to explain such change? To violent social interaction and practice? To discursive structures? To material factors? How do civil wars change and disrupt social networks – networks that play a key role in any functioning society? When the international community intervenes in a civil conflict, are there dominant social discourses and norms that must be understood if proper post-conflict peace building strategies are to be crafted?
The working group will welcome various approaches - from a rational-choice, international-relations one that uses agent-based modeling to study rebel-group recruitment to a comparative, interpretive one that employs discourse analysis to capture the role of framing in conflict dynamics. It will thus seek to overcome customary disciplinary, subfield and epistemological compartmentalization. This not only promises value added for the civil war research program, but is consistent with a core aim of the CSCW.