The Study of the Consequences of Armed Groups: Lessons from the social movement literature
Title: The Study of the Consequences of Armed Groups: Lessons from the social movement literature
Citation: Mobilization, 2012, 17, 1, 85-98
ISSN: 1938-1514; 1086-671X
Despite the development of the political violence and terrorism literature, which has taken a strong forward movement in the past decade, scientific works on the consequences of armed groups are still rare. This article encourages cross-fertilization between the sparse studies of the consequences of political violence and the growing body of works on how social movements matter. First we show the variety of potential outcomes of armed groups’ violent repertoires. We then review works on the consequences of social movements and highlight lessons for the study of armed groups. Specifically, we urge scholars to look for the interplay of internal and external factors in studying the impact of armed groups. We call for a comparative focus that dwells less on conditions and more on the processes and mechanisms effecting political violence’s impact. At the same time, we acknowledge that the literature on political violence and terrorism can inform social movement scholarship. In particular, we think students of social movements should pay more attention to the potential economic consequences of protest activities, the international factors constraining their impact, and the life-course patterns of movements’ targets.
First published online: February 2012
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