Publication

Where rebels dare to thread: conflict geography in Sierra Leone

Raleigh, C. & de Bruijne, K., 2015, (Unpublished) 26 p.

Research output: Working paperAcademic

This analysis develops a subnational explanation of conflict by illustrating how violence patterns are shaped by local power concentrations. Disaggregate conflict event data analysis has led to major advances into understanding conflict trends, agents and dynamics of violence. However, disaggregated event data has not been matched by the study of disaggregated politics, in particular of the subnational level. This analysis details how variations in spatial and group
patterns of conflict behaviour are largely determined by two distinct factors: high event frequencies are found in areas of relatively high customary authority and development; while bases and control networks are established in areas characterized by weak, co-opted local authorities, wealth generation possibilities and proximity to other network nodes. Substantively this implies that dominant opposition groups use local elites to co-opt support, however brutal, and target those who cannot be easily co-opted or belong to alternative networks. Manifestations of conflict are therefore not well explained by the typically static resource, poverty, or state capacity measures. Local politics and customary authority determine where government, vigilantes and rebels dare to tread. SLL-LED – a new disaggregated dataset on the Sierra Leone war and local source feature of ACLED- provides substantial evidence for our subnational conflict explanations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015

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