Techniques of violence in civil war

Led by Stathis Kalyvas
Jan 2004 - Dec 2004

This was the first of five workshops planned by the CSCW Working Group on Microfoundations of Civil War for the period 2003-2007. It was organized by Stathis Kalyvas and was held on 20-21 August 2004 at PRIO.

It focused on why insurgent movements and governments use or abstain from using various 'techniques' and means of violence available in their repertoire. It also looked for patterns and variation in the choice of victims of the violence. An import aim of the workshop was to determine the extent and type of empirical data collected to date, and how these shape our understanding of violent internal conflict. 

Among the 'techniques' for possible consideration are:

  • suicide attacks
  • torture
  • rape
  • looting
  • mutilation
  • kidnapping (for ransom, recruitment, to obtain concessions)
  • destruction of physical objects (production, government, community facilities)
  • taking and killing of hostages
  • hunger strikes
  • disappearances
  • piracy
  • sieges and embargoes
  • strikes using military means (missiles, mines, etc)

Among the cross-cutting issues the workshop analyzed were age and gender (both of perpetrators and victims), organizational structure, recruitment methods, and relations of the violent parties to the civilian population.


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