This research project examines the transformation of violence during the decline of violent insurgencies. It starts from the observation that forms of violence and violent actors change and are re-shaped in various ways over the course of violent conflict, in particular during phases of decline. These processes often contribute to ending insurgent campaigns by weakening, isolating, or fragmenting insurgent movements, but at the same time entail a proliferation of armed groups and can result in the diffusion and perpetuation of violence well beyond the “official” end of insurgent conflicts. The aim of this research project is to identify typical patterns of transformation and to analyze the relational and environmental mechanisms that drive these processes. In particular, it focuses on the spread of indiscriminate violence, the intertwinement of political violence with other forms of violence, the emergence of hybrid violent actors, and processes of transnationalization. The project relies on a comparative analysis of three cases: the violent campaigns by Islamist movements in Egypt (al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya) and Algeria (GIA, GSPC) since the early 1990s, and the violent insurgency of Sendero Luminoso in Peru (1980 to the present), focusing on developments during and after the peak of insurgent mobilization. This comparison is designed to combine similarities in the structure and aims of the insurgent movements and in the patterns of violence with differences in their cultural and political setting, in order to identify basic common patterns and mechanisms.
Building on my previous work on political violence, the aim of this research project is to develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics of violence during and after militant insurgencies. Applying relational process analysis to the field of violent insurgencies, the it draws upon and seeks to contribute to an innovative line of current research and to approach a hitherto unexplored field of study.
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