Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition

In the social sciences, recognition is considered a means to de-escalate conflicts and promote peaceful social interactions. This volume explores the forms that social recognition and its withholding may take in asymmetric armed conflicts. It discusses the short- and long-term risks and opportunities which arise when local, state and transnational actors recognise armed non-state actors (ANSAs), mis-recognise them or deny them recognition altogether.

The first part of the volume contextualises the politics of recognition in the case of ANSAs. It provides a historical overview of recognition regimes since the Second World War and their diverging impacts on ANSAs’ recognition claims. The second part is dedicated to original case studies, centring on specific conflict phases and covering ANSAs from all over the world. Some examine the politics of recognition during armed conflicts, others in conflict stalemates, and others still in mediation and peace processes. The third part of the volume discusses how the politics of recognition impacts practitioners’ engagement with conflict parties, gives an outlook on policies vis-à-vis ANSAs, and sketches trajectories for future research in the field.

The volume shows that, while non-recognition prevents conflict transformation, the recognition of armed non-state actors may produce counterproductive precedents and new modes of exclusion in intra-state and transnational politics.

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