Rebel group successor parties

From 2015/16-2019, I was Principal Investigator of the project Post-conflict political parties, that focused on the logic of rebel group -to-party transformation in light of wartime legacies and international interventions.

This project was co-funded by the European Union’ s Seventh Framework Programme under Marie Curie grant agreement no. 608695 881 and the Research Council of Norway through the FRIPRO Mobility Grant, project no. 240110 (eq.£420 000).

Since the end of the Cold War, a majority of peace settlements included provisions for armed groups to transform into political parties. Despite this, we still know very little about how rebel group successor parties shape the political trajectories after civil war. The project addressed two main questions:

  • How do rebel group successor parties impact on long-term conflict resolution and peacebuilding in the aftermath of civil war?
  • How do rebel group successor parties navigate within the international political context?
  • How do rebel group successor parties impact on peace?

The project relied on cross-regional comparison of (former) non-state armed groups in the Balkans (Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo) and in Asia (Sri Lanka, East Timor and Indonesia/Aceh).

Main outputs

PAW-logoPolitics After War Research Network: To continue building the foundation for research on rebel group transformation, political parties, political mobilisation in post-civil war contexts, I have founded the Politics After War Research Network with additional support from SPIRE (University of Bergen). For network activities look here and follow us on twitter @PAWscholars.

Project Activities: 
  • Section: ECPR General Conference 2019 Political Dynamics After Civil War Wrocław on September 4-7, 2019. The section included a series of panels and a roundtable which aims to bring party scholars and conflict scholars in closer conversation with each other.
  • Workshop: Rebel to party transformation and beyond, Co-organised with Folke Bernadotte Academy, Stockholm April 25-26. The two-day workshop funded by Folke Bernadotte Academy Working Group focused on bringing practitioners and academics in closer conversation with each other on topic of rebel group political transformation.
  • The conference panel “Comparative lessons of rebel conversion and post-war political engagement by former armed groups” was part of the Conflict Research Society’s Annual Conference, Birmingham Sept. 17-18, 2018. The panel, which consisted of four papers/presentations, was focused on engaging practitioner perspectives in engaging with rebel group successor parties and organisations.
  • The conference Rebel Group Inclusion and the Effects on Democracy was held at Jesus College on April 18-20, 2018. Take a look here for the full programme of the conference. The outcome of the conference will be a co-edited book (with John Ishiyama), with planned publication in 2019.
  • The workshop Transforming state visions: Ideology and ideas in armed groups turned political parties September 28-29, 2017, brought together authors to the forthcoming special issue in Government and Opposition. 
  • The workshop Former armed groups and the politics of state building after war was held on January 9, 2017 at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. This workshop, made possible by additional funding from the Philomathia Foundation, brought together a range of excellent speakers to discuss how former armed groups turned rulers or opposition parties shape post-war state building. Have a look here for the whole programme.

The main publication outputs from this project is a series of journal articles, one co-edited special issue in Government and Opposition (with Devon Curtis), a forthcoming co-edited book.

Talks/presentations by the PI

  • Party system development and democratic consolidation in civil war affected countries, the ECPR General Conference,  Sept. 4-7. 2019
  • Roundtable participation: ROUNDTABLE: Understanding the Transformation of Rebel Groups to Parties: Insights from Political Party Scholarship
  • Former rebel groups’ electoral participation after war, BISA Annual Conference London, June 12-14 2019
  • Determinants for changing self-determination ambitions after civil war, ISA Conference Belgrade June 17-20 2019
  • Genocide rhetoric and party politics, the 14th International Association for Genocide Scholars’ bi-annual conference, Phnom Penh, July 14-19 2019
  • Relational peace at the level of political parties: The nature and premise for inter-ethnic cross-party collaborations in post-war Bosnia and Sri Lanka, Varieties of Peace Workshop, Uppsala May 7-8 2019. 
  • Rebel political victories and democratisation: A comparison of East Timor, Kosovo and South Sudan, FBA-PAW Workshop, Stockholm April 25-26 2019
  • A new post-war rhetoric by former armed groups in politics?  The UN Genocide Convention at Seventy: The Politics of Mass Atrocity Prevention”  the Norwegian Centre for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, Oslo Sept. 6–7, 2018.
  • Former rebel parties and peacebuilding: Balancing short-term goals and long-term implications, Paper presented at the Conflict Research Society’s Annual Conference, Birmingham Sept. 17-18, 2018.
  • Balancing Patronage and Popular democracy, paper presented at the Politics After War Research Network Conference, Jesus College, Cambridge April 18-20, 2018.
  • 4thAnnual Philomathia Symposium: Where Does Democracy Reside? St Cathrine’s College, University of Cambridge:  Title: Can State-Building Ever be Post-Conflict?, 2017.
  • Political parties as Conflict Managers. Paper presented at Conflict Research Society’s Annual meeting, Oxford September 18-19, 2017
  •  Ideological moderation on the issue of secession: A cross-regional comparison of ethno-nationalist parties, the Association for the study of nationalism (ASN) Annual Convention, New York, May 4-6, 2017.
  • From ethnic to civic nationalism? A comparative study of formerly armed ethno-nationalist movements’ adaptation to multi-party democracy, the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN), London School of Economics, March 27-28, 2017.
  • Peace politics and the road ahead: Ideological moderation and political reframing by former secessionist movements, paper presented at the Rebels in power workshopFormer armed groups and the politics of state-building after war, Emmanuel College, January 9, 2017.
  • Intra-organizational change and political moderation in ethnic parties: Comparison of post-war parties in Bosnia Herzegovina’, paper presented at ECPR General Conference, Prague Sept. 7-10, 2016.

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