Matthias Basedau / Mora Deitch / Ariel Zellman

Rebels with a Cause: Does Ideoloy make Armed Conflicts Longer and bloodier?

Journal of Conflict Resolution | 2022

  • Abstract

    Ideology may directly provide motive and indirectly capacity for collective violence, thus making armed conflicts longer and bloodier. We investigate these propositions by drawing on an innovative global dataset which codes ideological claims by rebel groups and governments in intrastate armed conflicts since 1946. Results demonstrate that although ideology increases conflict duration, these effects vary by type and timing. Whereas secular ideological conflicts tended to be more protracted during the Cold War, religious ideology has become increasingly important since. We, however, find little evidence that ideology increases conflict intensity. Rather, rebel criminality best accounts for intensity. So, while immaterial resources like ideology sustain willingness to fight, ideology’s influence upon conflict intensity is limited, especially after the Cold War. Future studies need to take ideology seriously and need to investigate its characteristics more in-depth and in conjunction with material, identity related and international variables.


    Journal of Conflict Resolution

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

    Director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs / Editor GIGA Focus Africa

    T. +49 (0)40 - 428

    Ass. Prof. Dr. Ariel Zellman

    Research Project | 01/03/2021 - 30/09/2022

    Corona Conflicts? Analysing Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Violent Conflict in Africa

    At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, decision-makers warned that the pandemic might lead to more violent conflict in fragile states, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This project engages in a mixed-methods approach to study related relationships.
    Volkswagen Foundation, 2021-2022

    Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

    Director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs / Editor GIGA Focus Africa

    Mora Deitch

    Research Fellow

    Research Project | 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2023

    Religion for Peace: Identifying Conditions and Mechanisms of Interfaith Peace

    In recent years, religion has become an increasingly contentious phenomenon, with religious violence and discrimination on the rise worldwide. However, religion is also connected to peace: interfaith peace is, in fact, the norm rather than the exception. We contribute to the rigorous empirical study of the link between religion and peace, especially regarding positive peace. Using several cutting-edge methodologies, we expect substantial results that are also very useful for policy.
    DFG, 2020-2023


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