Banner for PDRI-DevLab Spring 2024 Workshop Series: Liana Eustacia Reyes


PDRI-DevLab Spring 2024 Workshop Series: Liana Eustacia Reyes

PDRI-DevLab is hosting a Spring 2024 Seminar Series featuring its staff and affiliates.

Topic: Two Sides of the Same Coin? Examining the Use of Terrorism by Governing Rebels

Presenter: Liana Eustacia Reyes (joint with Sara M.T. Polo, Megan Stewart, Jessica Braithwaite)

Session Details:

Conventional wisdom suggests that governing rebels should be more interested in legitimacy, a factor negatively associated with the use of terrorism. Nevertheless, nearly 62 percent of rebels who provide social services use terrorism. More importantly, they often use terrorism when and where they govern and control territory. This spatio-temporal overlap calls into question most existing theories. Why raise legitimacy with one hand only to tear it down with another? We argue that for some rebels, governance projects are a goal in and of themselves. Nevertheless, rebels generally operate in low-information contexts where they know little about civilians’ willingness to comply or defect. Therefore, to protect their governance projects in the face of heightened threats of civilian resistance (internal threats) and military rivals (external threats), rebels use terrorism when and where they govern. Using several forms of micro and macro-level data, we find robust support for our argument. This study has significant implications for rebel scholarly research and policy-making.

This session will be a workshop and participants are requested to read the paper beforehand.

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Liana Eustacia Reyes

Liana Eustacia Reyes is an Assistant Professor at Purdue University. Her research is in conflict processes, with a substantive focus on rebel law, rebel governance, terrorism, and conflict resolution. Her research has been generously funded by the National Science Foundation, Rice University’s Social Sciences Research Institute, the University of Pennsylvania’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research, and Purdue University.  Her published work has appeared in the International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.