Inhibiting Factors in the Process of Conflict Escalation: The Cases of Bolivia and Peru from Comparative Perspective


Abstract

Inhibiting Factors in the Process of Conflict Escalation: The Cases of Bolivia and Peru from Comparative Perspective

Witold Mucha, Universität Duisburg-Essen

Over the last decade a significant amount of studies has elaborated the root causes of civil wars in the world. Though, given the lack of one hegemonic and the simultaneous existence of a variety of different explanatory approaches, an additional analysis of the origins of some of those violent conflicts would not substantially contribute to the academic debate. Hence, in order to add a scholarly surplus to that research field the thesis attempts to the following purpose:

Unlike the vast amount of studies explaining civil war causes, here, a comparative research framework that puts two structurally similar cases to the test – i.e. Peru (civil war, 1980-1995) and Bolivia (no civil war, 1985-2010) – will elaborate the inhibiting factors in the process of conflict escalation. Analogically, the respective question will be: why do some civil wars break out in conflict-prone countries (i.e. Peru) while in others they do not despite their same structural propensity (i.e. Bolivia)?

The selection of Peru and Bolivia as empirical case studies is due to two essential circumstances: On the one hand, pursuant to dominant theories on the causation of civil war both countries exhibit similarly high levels of structural escalation proneness with regard to similar dimensions (i.e. inequality, poverty, discrimination etc.). On the other hand, while Peru has experienced civil war from 1980 to 1995, no large-scale escalation has occurred in Bolivia during its 25-year-long democratization process since 1985. Thus, the logically consistent question arises where this variance derives from.

 

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