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The Road To Civil War: An Interactive Theory Of Internal Political Violence


  • Steve Garrison


Opportunity structure theories of civil war onset argue that certain societal preconditions lower the costs of rebel mobilization. This approach, however, has not provided an account of how these structures transform lower level political violence into civil war because civil war is treated as a conceptually distinct category of violence. This paper proposes an internal theory of political violence based on the interactions of regimes and challengers. The escalation and de-escalation of political violence is viewed as the product of comparative rates of adaptation. Equal rates of adaptation produce civil war, while unequal rates, termination.

Suggested Citation

  • Steve Garrison, 2008. "The Road To Civil War: An Interactive Theory Of Internal Political Violence," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 127-151.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:defpea:v:19:y:2008:i:2:p:127-151
    DOI: 10.1080/10242690701601895

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