"Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors; concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations."
DAYS OF ACTION OR RESTRAINT? HOW THE ISLAMIC CALENDAR IMPACTS VIOLENCE
Michael J. Reese, Keven G. Ruby, and Robert A. Pape
American Political Science Review, Vol. 111, No. 3 (August 2017), pp. 439-459
AbstractDoes the religious calendar promote or suppress political violence in Islamic societies? This study challenges the presumption that the predominant impact of the Islamic calendar is to increase violence, particularly during Ramadan. This study is the first to develop a theory that predicts systematic suppression of violence on important Islamic holidays, those marked by public days off for dedicated celebration. We argue that militant actors anticipate societal disapproval of violence, predictably inducing restraint on these days. We assess our theory using innovative parallel analysis of multiple datasets and qualitative evidence from Islamic insurgencies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan from 2004-2014. Consistent with our theory, we find that important Islamic holidays witness systematic declines in violence - as much as 41% - and provide evidence that anticipation of societal disapproval is producing these results. Significantly, we find no systematic evidence for surges of violence associated with any Islamic holiday, including Ramadan.
THE FEAR OF THE POWERFUL: DEMOCRACY, AUTHORITARIANISM, AND
THE VIOLENT ESCALATION OF ASYMMETRIC CRISES
AbstractLike many theories of international relations, explanations of crisis escalation frequently invoke uncertainty as a critical factor. However, scholars largely fail to consider the implications of certainty in crisis. In asymmetric crises, actors are presented with certainty of knowledge in the power balance. According to the standard realist account, this certainty should reduce miscalculation and prevent most asymmetric crises from escalating to a violent stage. Nevertheless, I find that this certainty does not influence crisis escalation in the predictable ways implied by realist and rationalist theory: asymmetric crises end violently almost as often as symmetric ones. In pursuit of an answer to this intriguing puzzle, I formulate and test a regime-based model of crisis escalation.
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