Briefing Paper No.7. Beyond a 'rational violence' framework: Psychological causes of civil war violence.

Abstract

Based on Working Paper No. 14: David Keen, '\"Since I am a dog, beware my fangs\": Beyond a 'rational violence' framework in the Sierra Leonean war.' It is intended to provide a summary of the principal findings, and an indication of the implications these may have for debates over policy.

In his paper, David Keen goes beyond the confines of a 'rational violence' framework and proposes a model that helps to explain the occurrence of widespread violence against civilians during a civil war. In assessing violence induced by military soldiers and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone, Keen's three-stage model suggests that violence may be a product of human emotions, such as shame, anger and fear. The emotions and views of combatants need to be taken seriously if abuses are to be minimised.

Citation

Briefing Paper No.7. Beyond a ‘rational violence’ framework: Psychological causes of civil war violence, 2003, London, UK; Crisis States Research Centre, 2 pp.

Briefing Paper No.7. Beyond a ‘rational violence’ framework: Psychological causes of civil war violence.

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