The Logic of Violence in Civil War

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Cambridge University Press, May 1, 2006 - Political Science
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By analytically decoupling war and violence, this book explores the causes and dynamics of violence in civil war. Against the prevailing view that such violence is an instance of impenetrable madness, the book demonstrates that there is logic to it and that it has much less to do with collective emotions, ideologies, and cultures than currently believed. Kalyvas specifies a novel theory of selective violence: it is jointly produced by political actors seeking information and individual civilians trying to avoid the worst but also grabbing what opportunities their predicament affords them. Violence, he finds, is never a simple reflection of the optimal strategy of its users; its profoundly interactive character defeats simple maximization logics while producing surprising outcomes, such as relative nonviolence in the 'frontlines' of civil war.
 

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About the author (2006)

Stathis N. Kalyvas is Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science at Yale, where he directs the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence. He has taught at the University of Chicago, New York niversity, and Ohio State University, and has been a visiting professor at the Juan March Institute in Madrid. He is the author of The Rise of Christian Democracy in Europe (1996) which was awarded the J. David Greenstone Prize for the best book in politics and history. He has also received the Gregory Luebbert Award for the best article in comparative politics, and has been a grant recipient of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute.

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