Nation-Building and the Role of Identity in Civil Wars

05 Nov 2019

(Ethnopolitics) (Co-authored by Kendrick Kuo) Abstract: What is the relationship between politically relevant identities and violent dynamics within civil wars? Civil war scholars over the last decade have studied intra-war dynamics, such as the proliferation of rebel groups, alliances among belligerents, and cohesion within insurgent organisations. But a nation-building perspective has not been adequately integrated into this research program. We suggest that once we consider the socio-political orders established by their respective nation-building experience, we can make better sense of the patterns of variation in the role of identity in civil war fractionalisation. To elucidate our argument, we review three recent books that offer distinct approaches to how salient identities influence civil war processes. Prior nation-building emerges as an important antecedent variable to reconcile existing arguments. 

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