A Systematic Approach to Cultural Explanations of War: Tracing Causal Processes in Two West African Insurgencies
Summary Many accounts of cultural factors in armed conflicts are dependent on circumstantial details. Alternative quantitative approaches suffer from confusion of correlation and cause. This paper describes and exemplifies a third approach to the analysis of cultural factors in war--causal process tracing. Six key steps in implementing causal process tracing are outlined and applied to recent episodes of armed conflict in Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone. The virtue of the method lies in establishing a systematic framework for the comparison and evaluation of cultural mechanisms, thus providing an escape from hazards associated with subjective regression.
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