Networks of Rebellion: Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Collapse

Scott Straus, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Paul Staniland is emerging as one of the most creative and influential scholars of political violence. His Networks of Rebellion will cement that reputation. Already the winner of two awards (the Joseph Lepgold Book Prize and the Peter Katzenstein Book Prize), the book is a model of cogent theorization, inventive but systematic research design, and effective writing. It constitutes a substantial contribution to the scholarship on political violence and a milestone for field-based, comparative research.

The book’s central research question is straightforward: What explains insurgent cohesion and collapse? The inquiry matters for at least three reasons. First, the puzzle is real. Some rebel organizations are durable and effective; others are not. That variation exists across and within countries. Why? As far as I know, political scientists have not asked or answered that question in any detail.

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Perspectives on Politics / Volume 14 / Issue 01 / March 2016, pp 204-206 / Copyright © American Political Science Association 2016