Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:

login

Log in through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Journal Article

The Ontology of "Political Violence": Action and Identity in Civil Wars

Stathis N. Kalyvas
Perspectives on Politics
Vol. 1, No. 3 (Sep., 2003), pp. 475-494
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3688707
Page Count: 20
Were these topics helpful?
See somethings inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

Cancel
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Ontology of "Political Violence": Action and Identity in Civil Wars
Preview not available

Abstract

I discuss several conceptual problems raised by current understandings of political violence, especially as they pertain to actions, motivations, and identities in civil wars. Actions "on the ground" often turn out to be related to local and private conflicts rather than the war's driving (or "master") cleavage. The disjunction between dynamics at the top and at the bottom undermines prevailing assumptions about civil wars, which are informed by two competing interpretive frames, most recently described as "greed and grievance." Rather than posit a dichotomy between greed and grievance, I point to the interaction between political and private identities and actions. Civil wars are not binary conflicts, but complex and ambiguous processes that foster the "joint" action of local and supralocal actors, civilians, and armies, whose alliance results in violence that aggregates yet still reflects their diverse goals. It is the convergence of local motives and supralocal imperatives that endows civil wars with their particular and often puzzling character, straddling the divide between the political and the private, the collective and the individual.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
475
    475
  • Thumbnail: Page 
476
    476
  • Thumbnail: Page 
477
    477
  • Thumbnail: Page 
478
    478
  • Thumbnail: Page 
479
    479
  • Thumbnail: Page 
480
    480
  • Thumbnail: Page 
481
    481
  • Thumbnail: Page 
482
    482
  • Thumbnail: Page 
483
    483
  • Thumbnail: Page 
484
    484
  • Thumbnail: Page 
485
    485
  • Thumbnail: Page 
486
    486
  • Thumbnail: Page 
487
    487
  • Thumbnail: Page 
488
    488
  • Thumbnail: Page 
489
    489
  • Thumbnail: Page 
490
    490
  • Thumbnail: Page 
491
    491
  • Thumbnail: Page 
492
    492
  • Thumbnail: Page 
493
    493
  • Thumbnail: Page 
494
    494