Special Issue in Government and Opposition

The Special Issue ‘Transforming state visions: Ideology and ideas in armed groups turned political parties’ in the journal of Government and Opposition draws upon the presentations and discussions held at the workshops in Cambridge in January and September 2017. The issue is due out later in 2018.

To date, there is a fairly extensive and growing literature that looks at how and why non-state armed movements transform into political parties. What is missing, however, is an understanding of what happens to former armed groups over time after the end of formal hostilities, either as ruling parties or as opposition parties. Do their underlying ideologies change when faced with a new context? Do they project different ideas about governance and statebuilding? Does the practice of governance influence the party and its ideas?

This collection of 11 papers and an introduction co-authored by the guest editors places the former armed group at the centre of analysis and offers a novel perspective to our understanding of post-conflict governance. The papers are organised into two thematic sections. The first section offers a combination of quantitative and comparative case studies concerned with how new parties adapt over time and how their ideational foundations change. The articles in the second section consist of single case studies, exploring the tensions and contradictions that exist within the former armed movement, and how these divisions affect governance practices.

Guest editors: Devon E.A. Curtis and Gyda M. Sindre, Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge


Section 1: Ideas and Governance Practices 

  1. Transforming State Visions: Ideology and Ideas in Armed Groups Turned Political Parties – Introduction to Special Issue, Devon E.A. Curtis and Gyda M. Sindre (University of Cambridge)
  2. From Political Inclusion to Inclusive Politics? Assessing armed groups’ democratic performance as emerging state elites following negotiated transitions, Véronique Dudouet (Berghof Foundation Berlin)
  3. Party adaption over time, Carrie Manning (Georgia State University) and Ian Smith (St. Mary’s University)
  4. Rebel party origins and good governance?, John Ishiyama (University of North Texas) and Michael Christopher Marshall (Miami University of Ohio)
  5. Moderation and reframing by former armed separatist movements turned regionalist political parties, Gyda M. Sindre (University of Cambridge)
  6. Rebel Groups between Governance, Adaptation and Ideological Continuity: The Impact of Sustained Political Participation, Benedetta Berti (National Security Institute, Tel Aviv)

Section 2: Tensions and Contradictions in Party Visions

  1. Wartime experiments and ceasefire conventionalism: State-building in the Polisario Front liberation movement, Alice Wilson (University of Sussex)
  2. Modifying Revolutionary Democracy: From Ethnic Federalism to the Developmental State in Ethiopia, Lovise Aalen (Christian Michelsen Institute)
  3. The Crisis in Burundi and the Politics of Statebuilding: Understanding the CNDD-FDD, Ntagahoraho Z. Burihabwa (United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations) and Devon E.A. Curtis (University of Cambridge)
  4. From rebel state-building to political opposition: UNITA’s post-war social engagement in Central Angola, Justin Pearce (University of Cambridge)
  5. The tension between revolutionary violence and governance in Rojava, Syria, Burcu Özçelik (University of Cambridge)
  6. The revolution in its labyrinth. The heirs of armed struggle, electoral politics and clientelist governance in El Salvador, Ralph Sprenkels (Utrecht University)


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