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16. Internal Wars and Revolution

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Chapter Summary

The literature on internal wars and revolution is abundant. This chapter focuses on tracing basic theoretical insights and empirical findings, while pointing the way to further explanatory links. Elements and forms of violent conflict such as terrorism, guerrilla warfare, peasant upheavals or secessionist strife are frequently encountered in the context of internal wars. Ethnic and religious civil wars last particularly long and such conflicts escalate more quickly. Membership in distinct cultural and religious groups means a sharing of public goods, such as protection of language, culture and religion, coupled with a sense of identity and often of (some) security that these groups can provide. Internal wars and revolutions are closely linked. Revolutions are always outcomes of fundamental challenges of the prevailing powers and the structure of authority. The double system transformations, in politics and economics, after 1989 in the former East bloc suggest closeness to revolutions.

Keywords: internal wars; political conflict; revolutions; social identity



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