Justifying Rebellion : A Study on When Individuals Justify Rebellion-Related Political Actions

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning

Abstract: Under what conditions does an ordinary citizen find it justified for an individual to engage in rebellion-related political actions? Though there is a large body of literature on rebel participation phenomenon, little is known about how ordinary citizens react to the motivations of rebels highlighted by the scholars. This research aims to address this gap by focusing on three generic sources of motivation for rebel participation: economic or political grievances, selective incentives, and indiscriminate violence. It is theorized that identification with a rebel candidate’s social group and the gender of this person would both affect individuals’ indicated justification levels for rebellion-related political actions. Through a self-administered survey conducted online by 309 participants from the United States, the theoretical expectations have been examined and while it turns out that the gender of a rebel candidate is not a decisive factor, the explanations based on identification with the rebel candidate’s social group has been partially supported in the study. Further research focusing on other sources of motivation for rebels is encouraged to assess the extent to which the proposed causal mechanism applies beyond the explanations for rebel participation taken in this study.

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