Inside Cambodian Insurgency: A Sociological Perspective on Civil Wars and Conflict, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Inside Cambodian Insurgency

A Sociological Perspective on Civil Wars and Conflict, 1st Edition

By Daniel Bultmann


216 pages

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Hardback: 9781472443052
pub: 2015-02-13
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pub: 2016-05-23
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There are many different types of power practice directed towards making soldiers obedient and disciplined inside the field of insurgency. While some commanders punish by inflicting physical pain, others use re-educative methods. While some prepare soldiers by using close-knit combat simulations, others send their subordinates immediately into battle. While these variations cannot fully be explained by the ideological set-up of different groups or by their political orientation, the basic assumption of the study is that they nevertheless do not emerge at random. This book puts forth that the type of power being utilised depends on the habitus of the respective commander and, as a result, becomes socially differentiated. Furthermore, power practices are shaped by the classificatory discourse of commanders (and their soldiers) on good soldierhood and leadership. The study found multiple ’habitus groups’ inside the field of insurgency, each with a distinctive classificatory discourse and a corresponding power type at work. While commanders shaped the dominating power practices (such as military trainings, indoctrination, systems of rewards and punishments, etc.), low-ranking soldiers took active part in supporting or undermining power according to their own habitus formation. This book helps professionals in this area to understand better the types of power practice inside insurgencies. It is also a useful guide to students and academics interested in peace and conflict studies, sociology and Southeast Asia.


’Using interviews with dozens of former insurgents, this book offers a fascinating analysis of the recruitment and training of the three guerrilla factions in the Cambodian civil war, as well as valuable insights into the leadership styles of those diverse factions. This book will be for those interested in both recent unconventional conflicts as well as contemporary Cambodian history.’ Ken Conboy

About the Author

Daniel Bultmann is a sociologist at the Department of Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin. His current research focuses on the sociology of armed groups and the military, peace and conflict studies, post-conflict societies as well as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs. He has worked on various aspects of the Cambodian genocide and the subsequent civil war.

About the Series

Military Strategy and Operational Art

Military Strategy and Operational Art
The Ashgate Series on Military Strategy and Operational Art analyzes and assesses the synergistic interrelationship between joint and combined military operations, national military strategy, grand strategy, and national political objectives in peacetime, as well as during periods of armed conflict. In doing so, the series highlights how various patterns of civil-military relations, as well as styles of political and military leadership influence the outcome of armed conflicts. In addition, the series highlights both the advantages and challenges associated with the joint and combined use of military forces involved in humanitarian relief, nation building, and peacekeeping operations, as well as across the spectrum of conflict extending from limited conflicts fought for limited political objectives to total war fought for unlimited objectives. Finally, the series highlights the complexity and challenges associated with insurgency and counter-insurgency operations, as well as conventional operations and operations involving the possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Scholars and practitioners in the fields of politico-military history, international relations, and national security policy are invited to contribute to this new series as well as faculty at senior and intermediate level service schools involved in professional military education.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General