1st Edition

Armed Group Structure and Violence in Civil Wars The Organizational Dynamics of Civilian Killing

By Roos Haer Copyright 2015
    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines whether differences in the organizational structure of armed groups shape patterns of human rights violations in civil wars.

    Since the end of World War II, civil wars have been characterized by extremely high numbers of civilian casualties. However, the exact extent of civilian suffering varies across time, conflict, and geographic region. Recently, a new strand of research has emerged, primarily focused on studying the dynamics underlying the variation in civilian abuse by examining the characteristics of the armed groups and how these characteristics influence the armed groups’ behaviour towards the civilian population.

    With reference to principal-agent theory and data on the organizational structure of more than 70 armed groups active worldwide from 1989 onwards, the author’s analysis functions both on the level of the armed group and on the level of the individual via personal interviews with combatants.

    Offering a unique insight into how factors such as recruitment methods, hierarchy and organizational commitment may affect the likelihood of civilian abuse by combatants, this book will be of much interest to students of political violence, civil wars, war and conflict studies, security studies and IR in general.

    Introduction Part I. Theory: The Internal Organization of Armed Groups 1. Principal-agent theory and armed groups 2. The problem of adverse selection 3. The problem of moral hazard Part II. The Armed Groups 4.Web survey design 5. Armed group analyses and results Part III. The Combatants 6. Quantitative interview with combatants 7. Combatant analyses and results 8. Conclusion and discussion


    Roos Haer is a Senior Research Fellow at Konstanz University, Germany, and has a PhD in International Relations.