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Actors and victims: Understanding the trends and the use of indiscriminate violence in conflicts

Tchie, Andrew Edward (2019) Actors and victims: Understanding the trends and the use of indiscriminate violence in conflicts. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Research Question: Does the embedding of actors in a conflict cause an escalation in indiscriminate violence against civilians? In this thesis, I explore the different strategic positions, which actor(s) adopted during the decade-long Nepalese conflict (1996-2006). Firstly, I demonstrate who the actors of the conflict are, and establish why it is important to rethink the way actor(s) in a conflict are categorised. Secondly, I establish how the identified actors, are not static, but uncover how actors can adopt three strategic positions (i.e., embeddedness, fixed, and temporarily-deployed). I then present the theoretical framework; I developed for this thesis, entitled the Concept of Embeddedness. The Concept of Embeddedness addresses the conditions in which civilians experience indiscriminate violence during conflicts. I show how the strategic movement and positioning of actors within conflict zones renders civilians “piggies-in-the-middle,” as they are wedged between embedded actors who control a zone and actors who are sent on temporary deployment to the zone. I attempt to demonstrate how the position of embeddedness triggers temporarily-deployed and fixed actors to use indiscriminate violence against civilians in different zones. I propose that the use of indiscriminate violence against civilians through the practice of embeddedness (i.e., actors becoming embedded in a zone) occurs under two conditions: First, when an embedded actor resorts to the use of indiscriminate violence to gain control over the civilian population. Second, when fixed, but largely temporarily-deployed, actors use indiscriminate violence against civilians because they are unable to differentiate between embedded actors and civilians. The key distinction here is between embedded actors and the targets of indiscriminate violence. Using an original survey collected from 517 respondents in Nepal, across 16 districts, with combined datasets from a local human rights group, an international dataset, and interviews with 38 Nepalese elite civil society members. I show that embeddedness can lead actors to use indiscriminate violence on civilians. I focus exclusively on the Nepalese conflict and extracting examples from the second Sudanese conflict (1983 to 2005), the Peruvian conflict (1980-2000) and the current South Sudanese conflict (2013 to present day). I demonstrate how indiscriminate violence was distributed and how the Concept of Embeddedness can account for some incidents of indiscriminate violence used on civilians.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Andrew Tchie
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2019 14:51
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2019 14:51

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