GIR Colloquium | To Arms or to the Streets? State Inclusion and Religious Uprisings

26 April, 2018
1:00pm - 2:30pm


Why do some religious groups resist states with nonviolent means, whereas others take up arms or remain passive? Whereas previous research finds that inclusion of social groups generally decreases the probability of mobilisation, how different levels of inclusion affect regimes, elites and masses differently has not been examined. We develop a formal model of the decision by religious groups to mobilize against the regime and consider how increasing levels of state inclusion affect the propensity to participate in uprisings with violent or nonviolent tactics.

We argue that moderate levels of inclusion provide public goods and create ‘safe spaces’ that increase opportunities for nonviolent mobilization while high levels of inclusion deter nonviolent uprisings by reducing the likelihood of elite defections. High levels of inclusion can provoke mass violent rebellions as dissidents switch to violent tactics which depend less on elite defections to impose costs upon a regime. We test these hypotheses on a dataset of religious groups globally from 1990-2013 and find that moderate state inclusion generally increases the probability of religious participation in nonviolent uprisings and that this effect declines as states and religious groups become more integrated. Inclusion in religious states also appears to increase the likelihood of violent uprisings by large groups. The findings are generally robust to varying data aggregation, fixed effects modelling and batteries of control variables.


About the speaker:

Charles Butcher is an Associate Professor of Political Science in the Department of Sociology and Political Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. His research focuses on explaining the onset and outcomes of violent and nonviolent resistance campaigns, especially in authoritarian states. His work has been published or is forthcoming at Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly, International Interactions, Comparative Political Studies, The Review of International Studies and The Journal of Global Security Studies.

Location: Merewether Room 498, Butlin Avenue, University of Sydney