Rebelocracy: Social Order in the Colombian Civil War

Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics), 2016

Conventional wisdom portrays war zones as chaotic and anarchic. In reality, they are often orderly. This work introduces a new phenomenon in the study of civil war: wartime social order. It investigates theoretically and empirically the emergence and functioning of social order in conflict zones. By theorizing the interaction between combatants and civilians and how they impact wartime institutions, the study delves into rebel behavior, civilian agency and their impact on the conduct of war. Based on years of fieldwork in Colombia, the theory is tested with qualitative and quantitative evidence on communities, armed groups, and individuals in conflict zones. The study shows how armed groups strive to rule civilians, and how the latter influence the terms of that rule. The theory and empirical results illuminate our understanding of civil war, institutions, local governance, non-violent resistance, and the emergence of political order.

Introductory chapter (PDF)

Online appendix (PDF)

Recipient of the Conflict Research Society's Book of the Year Award, 2018.

Reviewed in Perspectives on Politics, The Journal of Politics, Latin American Politics and Society, The London School of Economics Review of Books, The Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Latin American Research Review.

Author-meets-critics roundtable at MPSA, Chicago (2017); LASA, Lima, Peru (2017); and APSA, San Francisco (2017).

Included in Muse's list of The 100 Greatest Latin American History & Politics Books

Featured in the Latin America Today podcast with Adam Isacson.

Rebel Governance in Civil War

With Nelson Kasfir and Zachariah Mampilly, Cambridge University Press, 2015

This is the first book to examine and compare how rebels govern civilians during civil wars in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Drawing from a variety of disciplinary traditions, including political science, sociology, and anthropology, the book provides in-depth case studies of specific conflicts as well as comparative studies of multiple conflicts. Among other themes, the book examines why and how some rebels establish both structures and practices of rule, the role of ideology, cultural, and material factors affecting rebel governance strategies, the impact of governance on the rebel/civilian relationship, civilian responses to rebel rule, the comparison between modes of state and non-state governance to rebel attempts to establish political order, the political economy of rebel governance, and the decline and demise of rebel governance attempts.

Reviewed in Civil Wars by Jonathan Fisher (University of Birmingham) and in Perspectives on Politics by Adrian Florea (University of Glasgow).