The book Inequality, Grievances, and Civil War, written by Lars-Erik Cederman, Kristian Skrede Gleditsch and Halvard Buhaug, has been awarded the Conflict Research Society's Book of the Year Award 2014. The book was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013 as a part of the Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics series, and argues that political and economic inequalities generate grievances that in turn can motivate civil war.
Cederman, Gleditsch and Buhaug offer a theoretical approach that highlights ethno-nationalism and how the relationship between group identities and inequalities are fundamental for how successful mobilization can resort to violence.
Previous research has highlighted grievances as a key motivation for political violence, while contemporary research on civil war has largely dismissed grievances as irrelevant, emphasizing instead the role of opportunities.
This book shows that the alleged non-results for grievances in previous research stemmed primarily from atheoretical measures, typically based on individual data. The authors develop new indicators of political and economic exclusion at the group level, and show that these exert strong effects on the risk of civil war. They provide new analyses of the effects of transnational ethnic links and the duration of civil wars, and extended case discussions illustrating causal mechanisms.
The authors share the award with Kevin Avruch’s 2012 book Context and pretext in conflict resolution: conflict, identity, power and practice. The Conflict Research Society is an interdisciplinary forum linking professionals and academics concerned with co-operation and conflict and provides a meeting point for sharing their work. Last year's CRS Book of the Year Award was given jointly to Steven Pinker for The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes, and Joshua Goldstein for Winning the War on War: The Decline of Armed Conflict Worldwide.
About the authors
Lars-Erik Cederman is Professor of International Conflict Research at the Center for Comparative and International Studies at ETH Zürich. He is also an upcoming PRIO Global Fellow. Kristian Skrede Gleditsch is Professor in the Department of Government, Univerity of Essex, and a Research Associate at PRIO. Halvard Buhaug is a Research Director and Research Professor at PRIO, and a Professor of Political Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).