Anne Härtel

University of Basel, Sociology, Fellow in the doctoral programme North-South

Staff Page: zasb.unibas.ch

The Organisation of Violence in Armed Groups - The Case of the LRA

Intrastate wars dominate the nature of armed conflict all over the world. The macrodynamics of civil war – its causes, contexts and incentive structures – have been elaborated by a number of mainly quantitative studies. What is largely missing from the picture is an analysis of the internal dynamics of irregular warfare. We know a lot about how and why violence starts and possibly ends, but not how it happens. The research project aims at addressing this gap by focusing on the microdynamics of organised collective violence. It departs from the case of the initially northern Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a now transnational rebel group that is characterised by its reliance on forced recruitment and the use of excessive violence. Through interviews with local experts and former combatants and the analysis of secondary data, the organisational structures, individual and collective processes and situational dynamics that enable violent action shall be explored.

In particular, I will try to address the following questions: How can violence be organised, especially under the conditions of forced recruitment? What does account for the resort to different repertoires of violence and atrocious practices in particular? The research project aims at exploring how the internal dynamics of rebel groups influence their use of violence and how individual actors cope with the demands of violent action and identity.

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