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Providing security or protecting interests?: Government interventions in violent communal conflicts in Africa
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5673-9056
2015 (English)In: Journal of Peace Research, ISSN 0022-3433, E-ISSN 1460-3578, Vol. 52, no 6, 791-805 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What factors drive governments’ decisions to intervene in local conflicts within their borders? Communal conflict – that is, organized violence between non-state groups that are mobilized along a shared communal identity – kills thousands each year and severely impacts local livelihoods, at times threatening to spread and affect entire regions. Given the state’s assumed monopoly over the legitimate use of force, we should expect the concerned governments to be critical actors of the overall effort to restore peace in cases of local communal conflict, but empirical evidence indicates that central states tend to only intervene in some cases but not in others. This phenomenon has so far been understudied and the variations in states’ efforts to manage these conflicts remain unexplained. This article presents the first quantitative study of state intervention in communal conflicts. Building on existing scholarly work, I argue that state intervention is explained by a combination of strategic interests and state capacity, and that interests related to ethnic constituencies and land control play an important part in explaining governments’ strategies. These propositions find support in a statistical analysis covering sub-Saharan Africa from 1989 to 2010.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 52, no 6, 791-805 p.
Keyword [en]
Communal conflict, intervention, land control, non-state, non-state conflict, sub-Saharan Africa
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265486DOI: 10.1177/0022343315597968ISI: 000364164200007OAI: diva2:865903
Available from: 2015-10-29 Created: 2015-10-29 Last updated: 2016-10-06Bibliographically approved

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