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Title: The dynamics of state violence : repression and genocide in armed conflict
Author: González, Belén
ISNI:       0000 0004 6058 9996
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2015
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Genocide is the most devastating form of state violence. Yet, the prevalence of genocide is not reflected in our understanding of its causes: Key questions such as the relationship between governments and citizens, the effect of civil war on genocide occurrence, the incentives for the escalation of state violence, or the causes of selective violence remain largely unexplored. This dissertation aims to answer these questions and to advance our understanding of the determinants of state violence in general, and genocide in particular. Using comprehensive data on state violence, I analyse how political opportunity structures and actors char- acteristics pose incentives for governments to escalate violence. This dissertation consists of three core chapters. The first chapter of my dissertation examines the escalation of state-led violence. It focuses on the political opportunity structures and the types of dissident groups that oppose the government. Drawing on a sample of countries with records of physical repression, the study finds that state violence spirals into genocide and mass killings when the government confronts violent dissent in situations of civil war. The second chapter offers a cross-national study of the conditions under which civil war fosters genocide. It examines the characteristics of the rebel groups and their association with the civilian popula- tion. Analysing cases of civil war, it shows that governments resor~_ to genocide during periods of intense armed dispute when rebels have close ties to the civilian population. Finally, the third chapter offers the first systematic analysis of the variation in the timing and severity of genocide. Considering cases of genocide in civil war, this study finds that goveruments resort to genocide at different conflict stages in relation to the source of the dispute, the rebel groups' strength, and their civilian support base. The study also finds that genocide severity is affected by the government's perception of threat and the size of the excluded population. Overall, the three studies 011 which this thesis is based significantly improve our understanding of the determinants of state violence and its escalation. The disser- tation greatly contributes to scholarly research on political violence and suggests several promising directions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available