Paul Staniland

States, Insurgents, and Wartime Political Orders

How can states and insurgents forge stable, cooperative relationships?

Bargains, deals, and tacit understandings between states and insurgents are common in civil wars. This fascinating mix of conflict and cooperation in turn shapes patterns of politics, governance, and violence. Building on recent findings about state formation during contemporary South Asian conflicts, Staniland offers a conceptual typology of political orders amidst civil war that is scalable and portable across contexts. He argues that wartime political orders vary according to the distribution of territorial control and the level of cooperation between states and insurgents. Orders range from collusion and shared sovereignty to spheres of influence and tacit coexistence to clashing monopolies and guerrilla disorder. Scholars need to think more creatively about the political-military arrangements that emerge and evolve during war. A key policy implication is that there are many ways of forging stability without creating a counterinsurgent Leviathan.

Download Full Story (PDF)

The University of Chicago