Inside Insurgencies: Organization, Motives, and Prospects for Peace

Led by Ragnhild Nordås

Jun 2011 – Jun 2014

​Negotiations often fail to end civil wars.

Negotiations often fail to end civil wars. This project (Inside Insurgencies) addresses why some negotiation efforts are more efficient than others in ending violence. Despite the apparent centrality of this issue to peace building, systematic scholarship has thus far been unable to provide adequate answers. To fill this lacuna, this project looks inside insurgent movements for mechanisms that explain variation in how negotiations unfold and the outcomes they produce. Within the proposed research, a theor etical framework is developed based on the interplay of two factors (1) the internal organizational structure (IOS) of insurgencies; and (2) the insurgent motives (IM). The first, internal organizational structures (specifically decision-making procedures , density of ties between actors, and mechanisms to ensure discipline), is critical for understanding how insurgencies operate as well as whether and how they can negotiate/uphold peace agreements. The second, insurgent motives, is important because it in fluences bargaining space and factionalization. Together, these two dimensions affect who enters, signs, and implements specific negotiated agreements as well as how effective these processes will be for ending violence. As conceived, Inside Insurgencies will fill an important knowledge gap in civil war studies through:

  1. Theory building: Establishing a framework for understanding how insurgent internal organizational structures and insurgent motives influence the prospects for stopping violence through negotiation;
  2. Data collection: Systematically mapping these variations across a large sample of civil war contexts; and,
  3. Empirical analyses: Assessing how these variations influence negotiation processes and produce different outcomes in terms of th e cessation of violence.
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