Non–State Actor Violence: Refugees and State Capacity

25.09.2017 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Dr. Tobias Böhmelt
Lecturer affiliation: 
University of Essex

There is large literature documenting how refugee flows may generate intrastate conflict involving the state as an actor. However, many of the mechanisms through which refugees are supposed to increase the risk of conflict include tensions with locals, either due to general resentment against foreigners or the consequences of refugee inflows for these segments of the population. Grievances against the state authorities as such, however, are largely absent to begin with. We argue accordingly that tensions with locals arising from refugees are more likely to lead to non-state actor violence rather than conflict involving the state, especially in the absence of an existing conflict cleavage relevant to mobilizing refugees. We also contend that the extent of non-state conflict induced by refugee inflows likely depends on the capacity of governments to mitigate the consequences of refugees as well as their ability to police or control violence. We find evidence for our expectation that refugee flows can increase non-state conflict risk as well as the mitigating effect of state capacity on non-state conflicts in the presence of refugees. This research has important policy and scholastic implications as we enhance our understanding of the drivers behind intrastate conflict and shed more light on the security consequences of population inflows.