Special Issue in Government and Opposition

Carrie Manning and Ian Smith’s article ‘Electoral Performance by Post-Rebel Parties’ is available on firstview. 

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.

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 

  • Transforming state visions: Ideology and ideas in armed groups turned political parties – Introduction to special issueDevon E.A. Curtis and Gyda M. Sindre (University of Cambridge)
  • Electoral Performance by Post-Rebel Parties, Carrie Manning (Georgia State University) and Ian Smith (St. Mary’s University)
  • Identity Change and Rebel Party Political Success, John Ishiyama (University of North Texas)
  • Adapting to peacetime politics? Rebranding and ideological change in former rebel parties, Gyda M. Sindre (University of Cambridge)
  • Rebel groups between 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

  • Ambiguities of radicalism after insurgents become rulers: conflicting pressures on revolutionary state power in Western Sahara’s liberation movement, Alice Wilson (University of Sussex)
  • The Revolutionary Democracy of Ethiopia: A war-time ideology both shaping and shaped by peacetime policy needs, Lovise Aalen (Christian Michelsen Institute)
  • The Limits of Resistance Ideologies: The CNDD-FDD and Legacies of Governance in Burundi, Ntagahoraho Z. Burihabwa (United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations) and Devon E.A. Curtis (University of Cambridge)
  • From rebellion to opposition: UNITA’s social engagement in post-war Angola, Justin Pearce (University of Cambridge)
  • Explaining the Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s self-governance practices in northern Syria (2012-2018), Burcu Özçelik (University of Cambridge)
  • Ambivalent moderation. The FMLN’s ideological accommodation to post-war politics in El Salvador, Ralph Sprenkels (Utrecht University)
  • The legacy of a revolution that never happened: the post-war politics of former rebel party RUFP in Sierra Leone, Mimmi Söderberg Kovacs (Folke Bernadotte Academy)


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