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Who kills?: social influence, spatial opportunity, and participation in inter-group violence

McDoom, Omar (2011) Who kills?: social influence, spatial opportunity, and participation in inter-group violence. PSPE working papers, The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Identification Number: 4 / 2011


In episodes of collective violence between groups, which group members participate and which do not? Extant scholarship on individual participation in inter-group violence emphasizes dispositional susceptibilities: young, male, alienated, deprived, ethnocentric. This paper, however, finds that micro-situational opportunities also mediate selection into violence. In particular it highlights spatial factors. Using data on 2557 residents from one community in Rwanda, I map the household locations of participants, non-participants, and victims of Rwanda’s genocide. I test two hypotheses. First, whether ‘accessibility’ – the ease with which an individual could access the site of violence – shaped participation. Second, whether ‘social influence’ – the ability to induce an individual to join in – mattered. I find support for the influence mechanism. Specifically, participants are more likely than non-participants to live both in the same household as and within close proximity of other perpetrators. These household and neighbourhood effects point to the existence of micro-spheres of influence.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 The Author
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Government
Date Deposited: 19 May 2011 13:43
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2013 10:14

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