Deconstructing Civil War: A Rejoinder

Journal article

Strand, Håvard (2011) Deconstructing Civil War: A Rejoinder, Security Dialogue 42 (3): 297–302.

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The article by Jacob Mundy in this issue of Security Dialogue draws attention to the ongoing debate between deconstructivists and quantitative researchers. The article criticizes the current state of the ‘new literature on civil wars’ and offers some recommendations as to how this literature might be improved. Yet, as a scholar on the receiving end of it, I am unable to make use of Mundy’s critique. I do not understand the premises for his article; I am not convinced by the case of Algeria; and I am unable to understand the recommendations made at the end of the piece. In other words, the dialogue here is not working. In large parts, this failure in communication is due to the fact that the relevant literatures very rarely connect with each other. The use of concepts in Mundy’s article might represent one of the few occasions on which they do. I propose a set of recommendations that I hope might assist in rendering the dialogue between these currently estranged literatures less futile.

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