Organizing Emotions and Ideology in Collective Armed Mobilization

Organizing Emotions and Ideology in Collective Armed Mobilization

by Francesco N. MoroUniversity of Bologna

The piece assesses the contribution of different insights deriving from different strands of organization theory (OT) to the analysis of how emotions and ideology shape armed mobilization in cases collective political violence. The paper provides two key contributions. First, it shows that armed groups (i.e. organizations) make use of different emotions to create “foundational myths” that permeate their organizational cultures through time. Second, the paper illustrates how ideologies (such as “Marxism”) are incorporated into organizational cultures of the individual armed groups through processes of adaptation and specification that may lead to emergence of significant differences over the definition of core orientation in terms of aims, preferences over organizational setups, and operational strategies. The essay builds upon mainstream OT literature and studies on collective violence that adopted an organizational perspective to provide suggestions on the paths that research willing to “organizationally embed” emotions and ideologies might follow.  To show empirically how the mechanisms identified work, the paper draws on examples coming from the rich existing literature on civil wars and from research conducted by the author on Guatemala and South Africa.

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PS: Political Science & Politics, Volume 50Issue 4 / October 2017, pp. 944-947