Accounting for the Unaccounted: Weak-Actor Social Structure in Asymmetric Wars
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Findley, Michael G., and Scott Edwards. "Accounting for the Unaccounted: Weak-Actor Social Structure in Asymmetric Wars." International Studies Quarterly. 51 (2007): 583-606.
This paper addresses a puzzle of how conflicts characterized by significant power asymmetries often play out much differently than dominant powers expect. We adapt the notions of institutionalized peace and riot systems from the literature on ethnic violence to identify ways in which social institutions attenuate collective action dilemmas, thereby increasing capability for a less-powerful group. Dominant groups often miscalculate the true nature of capability relationships by failing to account for these group-specific institutions that operate in the face of exogenous threats. We illustrate our model with two episodes of Chechen mobilization in the 1990s.
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