Things Come Together: symbolic violence and guerrilla mobilisation
McCormick, Gordon H.
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Nascent insurgencies often face an opening mobilisation dilemma that can cripple their ability to grow into a mature threat to the state. The source of this dilemma lies in the fact that the great majority of people who are prepared to support an insurgency in principle are only willing to do so conditionally, depending not only on the costs and benefits of their alternatives but the probabilities they assign to each side’s success. At the outset of such conflicts, when the emerging group is very small, the probability that the insurgency will be successful is low and the probability that it will fail is high. The expected costs of participation are correspondingly high, and the expected benefits of supporting the opposition are low. Why would anyone join such an undertaking? We examine how armed opposition groups resolve this dilemma through the use of symbolic violence and the manipulation of violent images. If successful, they transform their generated images into facts to achieve a self-sustaining mobilisation programme.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436590601153705