In Ordering Violence, Paul Staniland advances a broad approach to armed politics--bringing together governments, insurgents, militias, and armed political parties in a shared framework--to argue that governments' perception of the ideological threats posed by armed groups drive their responses and interactions.
Staniland combines a unique new dataset of state-group armed orders in India, Pakistan, Burma/Myanmar, and Sri Lanka with detailed case studies from the region to explore when and how this model of threat perception provides insight into patterns of repression, collusion, and mutual neglect across nearly seven decades. Instead of straightforwardly responding to the material or organizational power of armed groups, Staniland finds, regimes assess how a group's politics align with their own ideological projects.
Explaining, for example, why governments often use extreme repression against weak groups even while working with or tolerating more powerful armed actors, Ordering Violence provides a comprehensive overview of South Asia's complex armed politics, embedded within an analytical framework that can also speak broadly beyond the subcontinent.
About the Author
Paul Staniland is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, Associate Director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats, and a nonresident scholar in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of Networks of Rebellion. Follow him on Twitter @pstanpolitics.