Publications

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World map compiled by Pîrî Reis in 1513.

Dissertation Summary

The broader aim of my dissertation is to untangle the strategies of violence that are shaped by gender dynamics. I argue that participation of women in rebel groups decreases civilian attacks - not because women are inherently peaceful as stereotypes commonly assume, but because their involvement increases rebel groups’ military effectiveness and the likelihood of receiving support from democratic states. Groups with higher military capacity are less likely to engage in tactics that alienate the civilian population. Similarly, groups backed by democratic states tend to exercise restraint in using civilian violence to maintain the support of their sponsors. Therefore, participation of women decreases civilian violence by rebel groups through these two indirect channels. I examine these claims using statistical analyses using observational data concerning a global sample of rebel groups and experimental data from the survey experiment gauging public attitude toward women’s involvement in armed movements, as well as a qualitative case study of Kurdish armed movement based on archival research.   

 

Working Papers

  • "Impact of Women Insurgents on Rebel Group Effectiveness" 

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  • "Public Preferences and Foreign Support for the Armed Rebellion: The Case of Women Insurgents"  

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  • "Rebel Recruitment Strategies and Foreign Power Support"                    

            Abstract

Work in Progress

  • "Sexual Violence, Socialization, and Defection in Rebel Groups" 

 
The Choice Between Intergovernmentalism and Nongovernmentalism:
Projecting Domestic Preferences to Global Governance

This article seeks to explain when governments are more likely to take an intergovernmental approach to resolving global collective problems rather than step back and encourage (or simply allow) nongovernmental actors to become the main global governors. The authors suggest that an important factor driving this choice is the domestic ideological leanings of powerful states toward greater or lesser government activism. Such ideologies connect domestic preferences to international ones. They also lead to the establishment of domestic institutions that, in turn, facilitate the emergence of international organizations. Using these arguments, the authors develop a set of inferences regarding the likelihood that governments will establish and join intergovernmental organizations. The authors test their hypotheses through a study of global governance in the education realm, and also apply a series of statistical analyses covering developments in all issue-areas over the last century and a half.

 
Impact of Women Insurgents on Rebel Group Effectiveness

Does the recruitment of women contribute to the strength of the militant groups or does it disrupt the cohesiveness of the group and reduce rebel groups’ military effectiveness? What are the mechanisms through which women insurgents affect the operation of rebel groups? In this study, I answer these questions by combining cross-organizational large-N analyses and a qualitative case study of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). I use a variety of empirical sources for the analysis, including original data collected on noncombatant women participation in rebel groups, and the archive of PKK’s monthly bulletin Serxwebun between 1982 and 2015. The analyses suggest that women substantially contribute to rebel organizations’ ability to challenge governments. Women insurgents contribute most to organizations during crises. They contribute to rebel groups primarily through enabling tactical diversity and appealing to larger audiences, as well as leading the organization’s coup-proofing strategy against inter-organizational factions. This study argues that exploitation of gender stereotypes is the principal mechanism explaining most of the women’s unique contributions to rebel groups.  

 
Public Preferences and Foreign Support for the Armed Rebellion:
The Case of Women Insurgents

How does the presence of women in insurgent groups affect receiving foreign support? Does the public support insurgencies with women fighters more than the ones that do not have women? If so, through what mechanisms does support operate? I argue that the presence of women insurgents shapes foreign leaders’ decisions in favor of supporting the insurgent group in democracies because foreign public opinion is willing to support organizations with women more than those with no women. The presence of female fighters in a rebel group gives the leaders an option to take advantage of this positive opinion among the public, which influences the actual decision to support the group. Using macro-level evidence concerning the supporter states and the prevalence of female combatants in a global sample of rebel organizations between 1989 and 2009, I find that democratic states are more likely to support groups with women insurgents. To test the causal mechanism, I use survey experiments evaluating the public opinion on their governments’ decision to sponsor rebel groups with and without women insurgents. The results suggest that people are more likely to be in favor of supporting rebel groups with women compared to those without women. This support is driven by gendered expectations that do not consider women as the primary agents of violence. The public tends to perceive that the repression the rebel group faces by the adversary is more severe and that the rebel group is ideologically more moderate if the group includes women.

 
Rebel Recruitment Strategies and Foreign Power Support

Finding people who are willing to risk their lives and fight is a major challenge every rebel group faces. Why do some rebel groups deal with this problem by convincing people to participate voluntarily, while others coerce civilians into their ranks? I argue that support from foreign states is important in rebels' calculus about whether to engage in voluntary or forced recruitment. That said, not all sponsors have the same impact. Authoritarian sponsors increase rebels’ incentives to resort to recruitment by coercion, while democracies have the opposite impact. Democracies are more vulnerable to popular pressure due to domestic constraints on the executive and public opinion is sensitive to civilian abuse during conflicts. I test this using a large-N dataset on rebel groups' recruitment strategies and their sponsors. The results show support for this argument.