Agency and Governance in Contexts of Civil Conflict

Lead Research Organisation: Institute of Development Studies
Department Name: Research Department

Abstract

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Publications

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Arjona A (2014) Wartime Institutions A Research Agenda in Journal of Conflict Resolution

 
Description This project was set up to investigate theoretical and empirically the emergence of local regimes of order in areas of violent conflict, and how these shape the type and effectiveness of strategies employed by individuals and communities to cope with daily threats to livelihoods in order to mitigate exposure to poverty and destitution. We focused initially on five case studies: three civil wars (Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire and Lebanon) and two cases of persistent urban violence (South Africa and the Indian state of Maharashtra). In year 2 of the project, we accessed a new dataset on the Naxal insurgency in Andhra Pradesh in India, which we added to the project.



One of the main findings of this project is that forms of engagement between armed actors and ordinary citizens determine and explain the emergence of order in areas of violence. This finding is framed theoretically in Arjona (2010) and tested empirically across the project. Notably, in most case studies we observed that even areas of intense conflict are often characterised by the emergence of order, whereby ordinary lives carry on. This is largely shaped by the behaviour of armed groups. We have documented how non-state armed groups adopt very different ruling strategies towards local populations across and within countries: sometimes they neglect governance altogether, while in other places they become de facto rulers. Arjona (2013) finds that this variation is explained by the internal organisation of armed actors, the presence of competing groups, and whether the civilian population is likely to collectively resist imposed rule or not.



Our second important finding refers to civilian responses: all case studies revealed a large array of forms of civilian agency under violent conflict. Interestingly, we observed these variations in forms of engagement, negotiation and sometimes cooperation between ordinary citizens, processes of violence and armed groups not only in the case of civil wars (Colombia, Lebanon and Cote d'Ivoire) (Arjona 2013, Guichaoua 2013, Ibanez et al., forthcoming, Schulhofer-Wohl, forthcoming) but also in urban areas prone to civil unrest in South Africa and India (Maharashtra) (Gupte et al. 2013) and in the Maoist insurgency in India in the state of Andhra Pradesh (Tranchant et al. forthcoming). In the two urban cases we found further that local non-state armed actors often act as intermediaries between the state and local citizens (Gupte et al. 2013), whereas in the civil war cases, armed actors exercise authority directly - in some cases (in Colombia, Andhra Pradesh and Lebanon) acting as the de facto government. We also found that civilians and armed groups are more likely to cooperate when armed groups manage to establish a more interventionist kind of rule (Arjona 2013).
Exploitation Route The project's findings have important implications for wartime and post-conflict policy in Colombia, India (Andhra Pradesh), Lebanon and Cote d'Ivoire, as well as for policies aimed at violence prevention in urban areas in South Africa and India. Counterinsurgency policies in the civil war cases (as well as in the Naxal insurgency in India) have focused on military action and public goods provision. Urban violence policies have also taken similar approaches which mix heavy policing with social service provision. Our study suggests that institutions - particularly those around local governance and local social organisations - are essential and deserve further attention.



In order to disseminate these findings further, the Colombia work has been presented at meetings with NGOs and policy makers in Colombia. One of these events took place in November 2013, on the challenges and opportunities of a post-conflict state in Colombia. In India, the team organised a round-table discussion in early 2013 involving development actors, slum activists, police officers, academics and members of the local government in Maharashtra to discuss the findings of the project and facilitate engagement between different actors involved in tacking the complex issue of urban violence in India. The work in Cote d'Ivoire has been discussed in informal dialogue with the representatives of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, as well as UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council. In Lebanon, findings are being discussed with a range of governmental and non-governmental organisations involved in conflict prevention and civil society building. In South Africa, the project generated important collaboration by colleagues from the University of Cape Town drama department with a youth group in Imizamo Yethu and a local NGO, the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, who have developed surveys of informality and the informal economy within the township. The findings of this project have important implications for research and policy because they show how political violence may give rise to important forms of social, political and economic change that may have lasting institutional legacies for affected countries. We intend to continue exploring these over the next few years, and have recently secured funding from IDRC to continue this research in Colombia over the next three years.



Project findings have been presented in multiple conferences, seminars and policy events. Examples include University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Brown University, Chicago University, Harvard University, Northwestern University, Yale University, the annual conferences of the Households in Conflict Network (2011 and 2012), the American Economic Association meeting in San Diego (2013), the Network of European Peace Scientists Annual Jan Tinbergen Conference (2013), the Conflict Research Society Annual Conference (2013), among others. A full list can be provided upon request.
Sectors Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.ids.ac.uk/project/agency-and-governance-in-contexts-of-civil-conflict
 
Description NARRATIVE IMPACT REPORT Agency and Governance Project 1. Summary of project findings This project was set up to investigate theoretical and empirically the emergence of local regimes of order in areas of violent conflict, and how these shape the type and effectiveness of strategies employed by individuals and communities to cope with daily threats to livelihoods in order to mitigate exposure to poverty and destitution. We focused initially on five case studies: three civil wars (Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire and Lebanon) and two cases of persistent urban violence (South Africa and the Indian state of Maharashtra). In year 2 of the project, we accessed a new dataset on the Naxal insurgency in Andhra Pradesh in India, which we added to the project. One of the main findings of this project is that forms of engagement between armed actors and ordinary citizens determine and explain the emergence of order in areas of violence. This finding is framed theoretically in Arjona (2010) and tested empirically across the project. Notably, in most case studies we observed that even areas of intense conflict are often characterised by the emergence of order, whereby ordinary lives carry on. This is largely shaped by the behaviour of armed groups. We have documented how non-state armed groups adopt very different ruling strategies towards local populations across and within countries: sometimes they neglect governance altogether, while in other places they become de facto rulers. Arjona (2013) finds that this variation is explained by the internal organization of armed actors, the presence of competing groups, and whether the civilian population is likely to collectively resist imposed rule or not. Our second important finding refers to civilian responses: all case studies revealed a large array of forms of civilian agency under violent conflict. Interestingly, we observed these variations in forms of engagement, negotiation and sometimes cooperation between ordinary citizens, processes of violence and armed groups not only in the case of civil wars (Colombia, Lebanon and Cote d'Ivoire) (Arjona 2013, Guichaoua 2013, Ibanez et al., forthcoming, Schulhofer-Wohl, forthcoming) but also in urban areas prone to civil unrest in South Africa and India (Maharashtra) (Gupte et al. 2013) and in the Maoist insurgency in India in the state of Andhra Pradesh (Tranchant et al. forthcoming). In the two urban cases we found further that local non-state armed actors often act as intermediaries between the state and local citizens (Gupte et al. 2013), whereas in the civil war cases, armed actors exercise authority directly - in some cases (in Colombia, Andhra Pradesh and Lebanon) acting as the de facto government. We also found that civilians and armed groups are more likely to cooperate when armed groups manage to establish a more interventionist kind of rule (Arjona 2013). 2. Implications and impact The findings of this project have important implications for research and policy because they show how political violence may give rise to important forms of social, political and economic change that may have lasting institutional legacies for affected countries. We describe below our engagement with the academic and policies communities during the project. It is, however, important to note that we expect the project to continue to yield important contributions to both research and policy over the next few years. This was a very complex project, with challenging fieldwork, which generated new theoretical and empirical insights, as well as new datasets. We intend to continue exploring these over the next few years, and have recently secured funding from IDRC to continue this research in Colombia over the next three years. The project has led to the publications listed below. Some papers have an offer of revise and resubmit by top journals, and others will be published in edited volumes. As it would be expected in a project of this nature, several papers are close to submission, while other papers are under preparation and will be submitted to top academic journals over the next year. • Aghajanian, A., Justino, P., Tranchant, J-P. "Social Cooperation and the Persistence of Communal Violence in India". • Arjona, A. "Rebel Targeting of Local Authorities in Civil War". • Arjona, A. "Wartime Institutions: A Research Agenda", Journal of Conflict Resolution, revise & resubmit. • Arjona, A. "Social Order in Civil War", to be submitted to a leading political science journal in the next two months. • Arjona, A. "Social Order in Civil War", manuscript under review by Cambridge University Press. • Arjona, A. "Resisting Rebel Rule: Civilian Opposition to Rebel Governance", forthcoming in Arjona, Kasfir and Mampilly (eds.) "Rebel Governance in Civil War", Cambridge University Press. • Ibáñez, A. M., Gafaro, M. and Justino, P. "Living with Violence: Shocks and Coping Strategies under Armed Group Presence in Colombia". Under preparation • Ibáñez, A. M. , Gafaro, M. and Justino, P. "Local Social Organization and Armed Group Presence in Colombia". Under preparation • Guichaoua, Y. "Civilian Agency in Conflict: Reviving Schools Under Rebel Rule in Côte-d'Ivoire (2002-2011)" • Guichaoua, Y. "Invisible Commandos, Visible Violence: Rebel Governance in the Autonomous Republic of PK18", forthcoming in Bosi L, O'Dochartaigh N and Pisoiu D (eds). Political Violence in Context. • Gupte, J., Justino, P. and Tranchant, J-P. "Households Amidst Urban Riots: The Economic Consequences of Civil Violence in India", Journal of Conflict Resolution, revise & resubmit. Also HiCN Working Paper no. 126. • Ibáñez, A. M., Justino, P. and Kalyvas, S. "Violent Shocks and Armed Group Presence in Colombia" • Justino, P. and Kalyvas, S. "Agency and Governance in Contexts of Violent Conflict" • Lomax, J. "Coping with Wars: Threat and Protection in the Battle for Abidjan" • Schulhofer-Wohl, J. "Armed Group Repertoires and Recollection in Survey Research in Lebanon" • Piper, L. "From Party-State to Party-Society in South Africa: SANCO and the Informal Politics of Community Representation in Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, Cape Town", in Benit-Gbaffou (ed). Voice of the Poor in Urban Governance: Participation, Mobilisation and Politics in South African Cities. HSRC Press (forthcoming). • Piper, L. & Benit-Gbaffou, C. "Mediation and the Contradictions of Representing the Urban Poor in South Africa: the case of SANCO leaders in Imizamo Yethu in Cape Town, South Africa" in Von Lieres, B & Piper, L. (2014). Between Citizen and State: the role of intermediaries and mediation in popular representation in the Global South. Palgrave MacMillan (forthcoming) • Piper, L & Wheeler, J. "The Importance of Informal and Partisan Community Representation in Local State-Society Relations in South Africa: SANCO in Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, Cape Town" (forthcoming) • Tranchant, J-P., Justino, P. and Muller, C. "Household Welfare Under Rebel Control: Evidence from the Naxal Insurrection in Andhra Pradesh". HiCN Working Paper no. 168. Will be submitted to a top Economics journal in May 2014. • Wheeler, J & Piper, L. "Pervasive Not Political: Everyday Violence and the Partisan Character Of State-Society Relations In The Township Of Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town, South Africa" (forthcoming) Project findings have been presented in multiple conferences, seminars and policy events. Examples include University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Brown University, Chicago University, Harvard University, Northwestern University, Yale University, the annual conferences of the Households in Conflict Network (2011 and 2012), the American Economic Association meeting in San Diego (2013), the Network of European Peace Scientists Annual Jan Tinbergen Conference (2013), the Conflict Research Society Annual Conference (2013), among others. A full list can be provided upon request. All members of the project team have also closely engaged with policy audiences in each case study in order to ensure strong research uptake. The project's findings have important implications for wartime and post-conflict policy in Colombia, India (Andhra Pradesh), Lebanon and Cote d'Ivoire, as well as for policies aimed at violence prevention in urban areas in South Africa and India. Counterinsurgency policies in the civil war cases (as well as in the Naxal insurgency in India) have focused on military action and public goods provision. Urban violence policies have also taken similar approaches which mix heavy policing with social service provision. Our study suggests that institutions - particularly those around local governance and local social organisations - are essential and deserve further attention. Building high-quality local institutions is crucial for both preventing non-state armed groups from gaining control over local territories, and rebuilding local societies that are currently controlled and ruled by these organizations. In order to disseminate these findings further, the Colombia work has been presented at meetings with NGOs and policy makers in Colombia. One of these events took place in November, 2013, on the challenges and opportunities of a post-conflict state in Colombia. In India, the team organised a round-table discussion in early 2013 involving development actors, slum activists, police officers, academics and members of the local government in Maharashtra to discuss the findings of the project and facilitate engagement between different actors involved in tacking the complex issue of urban violence in India. The work in Cote d'Ivoire has been discussed in informal dialogue with the representatives of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, as well as UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council. In Lebanon, findings are being discussed with a range of non-governmental organizations involved in conflict prevention and civil society building, as well as international organizations focusing on peacebuilding and DDR programs following civil conflict. In South Africa, the project generated important collaboration by colleagues from the University of Cape Town drama department with a youth group in Imizamo Yethu to put on a series of public performances in 2012. This research has also led to collaboration with a local NGO, the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, who have developed surveys of informality and the informal economy within the township.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal