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The Challenge of Community-Based Armed Groups: Towards a Conceptualization of Militias, Gangs, and Vigilantes

The Challenge of Community-Based Armed Groups: Towards a Conceptualization of Militias, Gangs,... AbstractThe proliferation of irregular armed actors which defy simplistic definition has caught public and academic attention alike, not least in the pages of this journal. To move the debate on non-state armed groups (NSAGs) forward, this article seeks to enhance our conceptual understanding of parochial armed groups which are not primarily driven by ideological or religious objectives. Thus, this article clarifies similarities as well as differences between subtypes of community-based armed groups (CBAGs) on the one hand, and between CBAGs and other NSAGs, on the other hand. By doing so, a typology is developed that classifies militias, gangs and vigilantes on the basis of their political, economic and security-related dimensions. The resulting ideal types are discussed through the lenses of different explanatory frameworks and policy debates in the field of contemporary security studies. A major typological issue is the tendency for CBAGs to ‘turn bad’ and become threats to the stability they were expected to transform, becoming a serious problem in countries where they operate. It is concluded that the challenge of CBAGs ultimately needs to be addressed by putting in place a functioning state that can tackle the underlying woes that led to their proliferation in the first place. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Security Policy Taylor & Francis

The Challenge of Community-Based Armed Groups: Towards a Conceptualization of Militias, Gangs, and Vigilantes

Contemporary Security Policy , Volume 36 (2): 25 – May 4, 2015
25 pages

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References (165)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2015 Taylor & Francis
ISSN
1743-8764
eISSN
1352-3260
DOI
10.1080/13523260.2015.1061756
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThe proliferation of irregular armed actors which defy simplistic definition has caught public and academic attention alike, not least in the pages of this journal. To move the debate on non-state armed groups (NSAGs) forward, this article seeks to enhance our conceptual understanding of parochial armed groups which are not primarily driven by ideological or religious objectives. Thus, this article clarifies similarities as well as differences between subtypes of community-based armed groups (CBAGs) on the one hand, and between CBAGs and other NSAGs, on the other hand. By doing so, a typology is developed that classifies militias, gangs and vigilantes on the basis of their political, economic and security-related dimensions. The resulting ideal types are discussed through the lenses of different explanatory frameworks and policy debates in the field of contemporary security studies. A major typological issue is the tendency for CBAGs to ‘turn bad’ and become threats to the stability they were expected to transform, becoming a serious problem in countries where they operate. It is concluded that the challenge of CBAGs ultimately needs to be addressed by putting in place a functioning state that can tackle the underlying woes that led to their proliferation in the first place.

Journal

Contemporary Security PolicyTaylor & Francis

Published: May 4, 2015

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