The Bilkent University Seminar Series – Polity, Society and the World cordially invites you to the talk by Prof. Stathis N. Kalyvas (Yale University) “Revolutionary Rebels and the ‘Marxist Paradox’”. The talk will take place on May 5, 2016 (Thursday) at 15:40 in A-130 (FEASS).
During the Cold War, many rebel movements adopted a revolutionary agenda, with a Marxist or socialist orientation. A large qualitative literature contends that revolutionary rebels were generally high quality ones, but their overall impact has yet to be investigated systematically. We find that civil wars where the main rebel actor was a socialist revolutionary group, took the form of highly demanding irregular wars rather than conventional or symmetric, non-conventional wars; they lasted longer and produced more fatalities on average. However, and contrary to our expectations, we also find that rebel quality failed to translate into positive outcomes: socialist revolutionary rebels tended to be defeated at a higher rate compared to other rebels–hence a “Marxist Paradox.” To account for it, we argue that states challenged by socialist revolutionary rebels successfully stepped up their game by both drawing from substantial external assistance and launching counter-mobilization campaigns. Our analysis suggests the usefulness of incorporating rebel political identity in the study of civil war and historicizing it. We also point to the state-building dimension of civil wars implicating revolutionary rebels and stress the indirect ways in which they shaped conflict. We conclude by drawing implications for the latest wave of revolutionary rebellion, the jihadi one.
Stathis N. Kalyvas is Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science at Yale University, where he also directs the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence. Previously a faculty member at Ohio State University, New York University, and the University of Chicago, he also held visiting professorships at the European University Institute, the Max Planck Institute, Columbia University, Northwestern University, the University of São Paulo, and Lingnan University of Hong Kong. He is the author of The Logic of Violence in Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2006) The Rise of Christian Democracy in Europe (Cornell University Press, 1996), Modern Greece (Oxford University Press, 2015), and the co-editor of Order, Conflict & Violence (Cambridge University Press, 2008). He is a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Award for best book on government, politics, or international affairs, the Luebbert Award for best book in comparative politics, the European Academy of Sociology Book Award, the J. David Greenstone Award for best book in politics and history, and the Gregory Luebbert Award for best article in comparative politics (three times). His research has been funded by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the U.S. Peace Institute, and the UK’s Department for International Development among others. In 2008 he was elected in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His current research focuses on global trends in political violence as well as the politics of the Eurozone crisis.