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The social logics of protest violence in Iraq: explaining divergent dynamics in the Southeast

Robin D'Cruz, Benedict (2021) The social logics of protest violence in Iraq: explaining divergent dynamics in the Southeast. LSE Middle East Centre Paper Series (53). LSE Middle East Centre.

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Southeast Iraq has witnessed considerable protest violence in recent years. Yet the nature of this violence, and its effects in shaping protest dynamics, have varied considerably between provinces, and when comparing different phases of mobilisation over time. Consequently, frequently cited macro-level factors (e.g., a breakdown in the elite-citizen social contract, uneven socio-economic development, poor public services, widespread corruption etc.) provide only a partial explanation of violent dynamics and cannot account for temporal and geographic disparities. By contrast, this paper presents a granular and ground-level view of protest violence by drawing on a combination of protest event analysis and interview data. This is used to show how broader structural conditions and national-level politics intersect with more localised structures to produce distinct social logics that govern the application of protest violence, and its effects, in specific localities. The paper’s key finding is that effective intervention to alter violent dynamics around protests in Iraq depends on access to local and diffuse forms of power. Consequently, it is only elite political actors with reach into these local domains who regulate violent dynamics.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2021 13:33
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 23:54

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