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Functions of violence revisited: greed, pride and grievance in Sri Lanka’s civil war


Korf, Benedikt (2006). Functions of violence revisited: greed, pride and grievance in Sri Lanka’s civil war. Progress in Development Studies, 6(2):109-122.

Abstract

This paper revisits the rationalist conceptions of warlordism in civil wars, which has amounted into the greed hypothesis as opposed to grievance. This argument states that rebels are not motivated to generate public goods – the betterment of society – but seek private gain. Violence becomes a function to generate wealth. While initial studies focused on explaining why civil war breaks out in the first instance, there is now increasing interest in modelling violence and warlordism in ongoing civil war. In this paper, I sketch out and critically discuss the rationalist approaches in this so-called greed–grievance debate and will then concentrate on one particular aspect in the broader greed–grievance literature: the modelling of warlordism in ongoing civil warfare. A contextual model is suggested to explain the dynamics of violence in the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict, which distinguishes extrinsic (‘greed’) and intrinsic (‘pride’) motivations.

This paper revisits the rationalist conceptions of warlordism in civil wars, which has amounted into the greed hypothesis as opposed to grievance. This argument states that rebels are not motivated to generate public goods – the betterment of society – but seek private gain. Violence becomes a function to generate wealth. While initial studies focused on explaining why civil war breaks out in the first instance, there is now increasing interest in modelling violence and warlordism in ongoing civil war. In this paper, I sketch out and critically discuss the rationalist approaches in this so-called greed–grievance debate and will then concentrate on one particular aspect in the broader greed–grievance literature: the modelling of warlordism in ongoing civil warfare. A contextual model is suggested to explain the dynamics of violence in the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict, which distinguishes extrinsic (‘greed’) and intrinsic (‘pride’) motivations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2006
Deposited On:16 Aug 2012 06:14
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:55
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1464-9934
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1191/1464993406ps131oa
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-64082

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