Progress and pitfalls in the study of political violence

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13 Scopus citations


The study of political violence has undergone dramatic changes in its orientation, scope, and empirical approach over the last twenty years. The increasing availability of micro-level data and the growing methodological sophistication of researchers have led to a proliferation of high quality studies on different types of political violence, such as genocide, ethnic cleansing, inter-state war, insurgency, civil war, and repression. However, the cost of this increased sophistication has been fragmentation of the field into highly specialized studies of types of political violence, themselves often divided by theoretical assumptions and methodological approaches. As a way of encouraging the cross-pollination of ideas across the study of political violence, this special edition has asked leading scholars in the field to produce "state of the field" survey pieces on each type of political violence and to identify directions for future research. This introduction lays out the rationale for this special edition, highlights some of the key themes and findings in the included articles, and identifies several insights from this literature that will also be applicable to the study of terrorism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-543
Number of pages17
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Political violence
  • Research
  • Terrorism


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