The CSS Blog Network

States are Far Less Likely to Engage in Mass Violence Against Nonviolent Uprisings than Violent Uprisings

Image courtesy of Hossam el-Hamalawy/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This article was originally published by Political Violence @ a Glance on 8 May 2018.

What drives governments to crack down on and kill their own civilians in the context of popular uprisings? This is the topic of our newly-released special report with the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. In it, we explore why governments engage in mass killings – or the intentional killing of 1,000 or more civilian noncombatants – in the context of both violent and nonviolent mass uprisings. Among 308 popular uprisings since 1955, we find that mass killings are surprisingly common, yet they are strongly associated with certain types of resistance. More broadly (and strikingly), we find that characteristics of the uprisings are just as significant as features of the states they are confronting.

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Can We Predict Political Uprisings?

Image courtesy of MudflapDC/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This article was originally published by IPI Global Observatory on 19 June 2017.

Forecasting political unrest is a challenging task, especially in this era of post-truth and opinion polls.

Several studies by economists such as Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler in 1998 and 2002 describe how economic indicators, such as slow income growth and natural resource dependence, can explain political upheaval. More specifically, low per capita income has been a significant trigger of civil unrest.

Economists James Fearon and David Laitin have also followed this hypothesis, showing how specific factors played an important role in Chad, Sudan, and Somalia in outbreaks of political violence.

According to the International Country Risk Guide index, the internal political stability of Sudan fell by 15% in 2014, compared to the previous year. This decrease was after a reduction of its per capita income growth rate from 12% in 2012 to 2% in 2013.

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All Eyes on Libya

Libyan Uprising, by Libyan_Uprising.svg: Rafy, en:User:Interchange88 derivative work: War.dog (Libyan_Uprising.svg) [CC0 (creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Libyan Uprising (Source WikiCommons)

How do you follow the situation in Libya? Where do you get your background information from?

Here is a selection of fascinating links we’ve come across:

We’ve missed your favourite source of information? Leave us a comment!