Theories of Violent Conflict: An Introduction

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Routledge, Jul 26, 2012 - Political Science - 168 pages

This textbook introduces students of violent conflict to a variety of prominent theoretical approaches, and examines the ontological stances and epistemological traditions underlying these approaches.

Theories of Violent Conflict takes the centrality of the group as an actor in contemporary conflict as a point of departure, leaving us with three main questions:

  1. What makes a group?
  2. Why and how does a group resort to violence?
  3. Why and how do or don’t they stop?

The book examines and compares the ways by which these questions are addressed from a number of perspectives: constructivism, social identity theory, structuralism, political economy, human needs theory, relative deprivation theory, collective action theory, and rational-choice theory. The final chapter aims to synthesise structure and agency-based theories by proposing a critical discourse analysis of violent conflict.

This book will be essential reading for students of war and conflict studies, peace studies, conflict analysis and conflict resolution, and ethnic conflict, as well as security studies and IR in general.

 

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Contents

Conflict analysis in context
1
1 Identity boundaries and violence
18
Social identity approaches to intergroup violence
38
3 Violence and structures
54
Multicausal approaches
77
The costs and benefits of war
100
A discursive approach to violent conflict
116
Conclusions
139
Notes
143
References
146
Index
155
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About the author (2012)

Jolle Demmers obtained her PhD in 1999 at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. In 1999, she co-founded the Centre for Conflict Studies (CCS), an interdisciplinary research and training centre at the Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University, where she currently holds the position of Associate Professor.

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