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The Political Effectiveness of Non-State Violence: A Two-Level Framework to Transform a Deceptive Debate


The Political Effectiveness of Non-State Violence: A Two-Level Framework to Transform a Deceptive Debate

Abstract: 

The most striking aspect of the current scholarly debate over the political effectiveness of non-state violence is that, upon careful examination, there is not much of a debate to be found. Despite seemingly irreconcilable positions claiming that terrorism and insurgency “work” or “do not work,” varying case selection and thresholds for success lie at the root of these debates, not disagreements over the empirical record. Although this previously unrecognized empirical consensus helps to resolve existing disputes, it relies on single-level strategic frameworks that fail to capture the effectiveness of violence from the perspective of those who employ it. This article presents an alternative concept of political effectiveness based on a two-level framework that accounts for the fact that insurgencies are not unitary actors, but are instead marked by armed groups that pursue strategic objectives that benefit their larger social movements (such as the overthrow of a regime or the withdrawal of enemy troops), while they simultaneously pursue organizational objectives that benefit the groups themselves (such as increasing membership or funding). Empirical analysis of eight paradigmatic campaigns common to studies of insurgency and terrorism across time and space reveals that the two-level framework better captures the political effectiveness of non-state violence than existing single-level models and primes the subfield for powerful new theories that explain greater variation in the use and effectiveness of non-state violence.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Krause, Peter. 2013. "The Political Effectiveness of Non-State Violence: A Two-Level Framework to Transform a Deceptive Debate." Security Studies (May): 259-294. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09636412.2013.786914#.UcSMETv...

START Author(s): 
Peter Krause
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