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States, Insurgents, and Wartime Political Orders

  • Paul Staniland (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 25 May 2012

Bargains, deals, and tacit understandings between states and insurgents are common in civil wars. This fascinating mix of conflict and cooperation shapes patterns of politics, governance, and violence. Building on recent findings about state formation, I offer a conceptual typology of political orders amidst civil war. Wartime political orders vary according to the distribution of territorial control and the level of cooperation between states and insurgents. Orders range from collusion and shared sovereignty to spheres of influence and tacit coexistence to clashing monopolies and guerrilla disorder. Examples from contemporary South Asian conflicts illustrate these concepts, which are scalable and portable across contexts. Scholars need to think more creatively about the political-military arrangements that emerge and evolve during war. A key policy implication is that there are many ways of forging stability without creating a counterinsurgent Leviathan.

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Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
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