Format of Original
San Diego State University
Mobilization: An International Journal
In contrast to prevalent theories of terrorism, this study develops a contention-oriented approach where levels and forms of political violence against civilians depend upon: (1) the strategies of combatants; (2) the means of contention; (3) the locations of allies and opponents; (4) the collective identities of combatants; and (5) the dynamics of contention, including whether or not representatives of paramilitary organizations are included in formal peace processes. Quantitative analyses of a multi-source database of civilian deaths taking place in Northern Ireland between 1966 and 2006 offer preliminary support for this approach. The study underscores the insights provided by theories and methods used in the fields of social movements research and peace and conflict studies.