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  • Cited by 7
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    Silverman, Eric and Bryden, John 2018. Methodological Investigations in Agent-Based Modelling. p. 85.

    Schutte, Sebastian 2017. Violence and Civilian Loyalties. Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 61, Issue. 8, p. 1595.

    Schutte, Sebastian 2017. Geographic determinants of indiscriminate violence in civil wars. Conflict Management and Peace Science, Vol. 34, Issue. 4, p. 380.

    Schutte, Sebastian 2015. Geography, Outcome, and Casualties. Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 59, Issue. 6, p. 1101.

    Rutherford, Alex Harmon, Dion Werfel, Justin Gard-Murray, Alexander S. Bar-Yam, Shlomiya Gros, Andreas Xulvi-Brunet, Ramon Bar-Yam, Yaneer and Gomez-Gardenes, Jesus 2014. Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence. PLoS ONE, Vol. 9, Issue. 5, p. e95660.

    Cunningham, Kathleen Gallagher Bakke, Kristin M. Seymour, Lee J. M. Pearlman, Wendy and Cunningham, Kathleen Gallagher 2012. Shirts Today, Skins Tomorrow. Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 56, Issue. 1, p. 67.

    Buhaug, Halvard Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede Holtermann, Helge Østby, Gudrun and Tollefsen, Andreas Forø 2011. It’s the Local Economy, Stupid! Geographic Wealth Dispersion and Conflict Outbreak Location. Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 55, Issue. 5, p. 814.

  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: July 2010

10 - Articulating the geo-cultural logic of nationalist insurgency



As interstate wars become less frequent, academic attention has increasingly shifted to internal conflict. In recent years, an exciting literature on the determinants of civil wars has emerged. Political economists, relying on cross-national statistics and rational-choice modeling, have played a prominent role in this debate. In contrast to most past attempts to account for domestic unrest, they tend to explain outbreaks of civil wars in materialist and logistical, rather than cultural, terms.

There can be no doubt that this kind of analysis has advanced the research frontier considerably. Instead of offering sweeping generalizations based on diffuse and scattered case-study evidence, the political economy literature has brought the phenomenon of civil conflict into sharper focus, thus allowing for a more precise evaluation of competing hypotheses. Still, it would be premature to draw definitive theoretical conclusions from these studies because a considerable gap remains between their macro-level findings and the rationalistic micro-level mechanisms that they posit as explanations.

Questioning these scholars' heavy reliance on materialist factors, this essay proposes alternative causal mechanisms that bring both politics and culture back to the fore. This task calls for deeper and more systemic explanations than those associated with the standard methods and assumptions of microeconomics. Therefore, I rely on computational modeling, which is better suited to trace historical path-dependency and to capture intangible entities such as national identities.

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Order, Conflict, and Violence
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