Civil Wars and State Formation: Order and legitimacy during and after violent conflict 
Didier Péclard (University of Geneva)
Martina Santschi (Swisspeace)
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Start time:
29 June, 2017 at 14:00 (UTC+0)
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Short Abstract:

This panel aims at exploring political life and governance during and after armed conflict. Thereby, it proposes to shed light on the social fabric of political legitimacy by looking at the interface and continuities between civil war and post-conflict state-building.

Long Abstract

Research on civil wars after the end of the Cold War has mostly focused on the root causes of violent conflict and on the role of rebel groups as warmongers. Recently however, debates have taken a new direction as researchers started to move beyond rebels' motives to wage war against the established order by looking into the day-to-day politics of civil wars. One basic contention of this new stream of research is that civil wars, while being the cause of immense suffering for civilian populations, contribute to shaping and producing political orders. Thus, if we are to understand the dynamics of state-building in the aftermath of civil wars, it is essential to understand processes of state formation through war by studying institutions that regulate political life during conflict.

Against this background, the panel focuses on political orders put in place during violent conflict, on the strategies developed by both state actors and rebel rulers to legitimize their existence and claim to power, and on the extent to which they manage to institutionalize their military power and transform it into political domination. We thereby propose to investigate the social fabric of political legitimacy during violent conflict and analyze how it relates to state formation in the post-conflict phase. To this end, we invite empirically informed papers focusing on the (dis)continuities between political orders established during and after civil wars.

Accepted papers: