Social constraints and civil war: Bridging the gap with criminological theory

Clayton L. Thyne, Ryan D. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Scholars' views on civil warfare have changed dramatically. Understanding that conventional and ideological civil wars are rare, scholars are increasingly coming to view rebellions as large-scale criminality. However, much work remains to link criminality and civil conflict. The authors draw on a large body of criminological research known as social control theory, which identifies informal factors that are expected to produce conformity with norms and laws, such as social attachments, commitment to achieve goals, involvement in the community, and belief that law is just. While a plethora of work has linked these processes to criminological behavior, the authors build a bridge to the civil war literature. Empirical tests examine how marriage, unemployment and military involvement impact the one's "taste for revolt" at the individual-level, and the likelihood of civil war onset at the macrolevel. The results present a robust empirical link between social control theory and internal conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1066-1078
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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