Advanced Search

The spread of violent civil conflict : rare state-driven, and preventable

Research and Teaching Output of the MIT Community

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Kenneth A. Oye. en_US Black, Nathan Wolcott en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science. en_US 2012-10-26T16:51:24Z 2012-10-26T16:51:24Z 2012 en_US 2012 en_US
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2012. en_US
dc.description This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections. en_US
dc.description Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references. en_US
dc.description.abstract This dissertation advances and tests an explanation for the spread of violent civil conflict from one state to another. The fear of such "substate conflict contagion" is frequently invoked by American policymakers as a justification for military intervention in ongoing substate conflicts -- the argument these policymakers often make is that conflicts left uncontained now will spread and become a more pertinent security threat later. My State Action Explanation is that substate conflict contagion is not the sole product of nonstate factors such as transnational rebel networks and arms flows, nor of the structural factors such as poverty that make internal conflict more likely in general. Rather, at least one of three deliberate state government actions is generally required for a conflict to spread, making substate conflict contagion both less common and more state-driven -- and hence more preventable -- than is often believed. These state actions include Evangelization, the deliberate encouragement of conflict abroad by former rebel groups that have taken over their home government; Expulsion, the deliberate movement of combatants across borders by state governments in conflict; and Meddling with Overt Partiality, the deliberate interference in another state's conflict by a state government that subsequently leads to conflict in the interfering state. After introducing this State Action Explanation, I probe its empirical plausibility by identifying 84 cases of substate conflict contagion between 1946 and 2007, and showing that at least one of these three state actions was present and involved in most of these 84 cases. I then conduct two regional tests of the explanation, in Central America (1978-1996) and Southeast Asia (1959-1980). I argue that state actions appear to have been necessary for most of the contagion cases in both of these regions, and that the absence of state actions appears to best explain the cases in which conflicts did not spread. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Nathan Wolcott Black. en_US
dc.format.extent 452 p. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject Political Science. en_US
dc.title The spread of violent civil conflict : rare state-driven, and preventable en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 813444489 en_US

Files in this item

Name Size Format Description
813444489-MIT.pdf 3.205Mb PDF Full printable version

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record