The Social Dynamics of Civil War: Insights from Constructivist Theory (SWP 10)

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With roots in sociology, anthropology and political theory, constructivism has made many inroads in contemporary political science. It has provided new insights on agency (as socially embedded), institutions (as community builders), an array of group processes (socialization, social influence, persuasion, deliberation) and power relations (social and discursive). More important, it has applied such insights empirically, thus also addressing all-important issues of data and method. After briefly reviewing this work, I suggest several ways in which it can help us better understand the social dynamics of civil war. Yet, this should not be a one way street. Constructivists also have much to learn – in theorizing violence, ‘nasty’ socialization, and, more generally, the dark side of politics.
Jeffrey T. Checkel homepage:
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Checkel, Jeffrey T., The Social Dynamics of Civil War: Insights from Constructivist Theory, Simons Papers in Security and Development, No. 10/2011, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University,Vancouver, March 2011.
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