Armed Groups in Cambodian Civil War

Part of the series Asia Today pp 17-28

Literature Review: Diversity in Civilians’ Incentives and Multiplicity of Recruitment Strategies

  • Yuichi Kubota


This chapter looks at the literature on recruitment in civil war and considers conditions under which civilians opt to participate in armed forces. It begins by highlighting differences between collective action in civil war and outside of civil war. As the “contentious politics” thesis argues, civil war may be considered a continuation of low-level or nonviolent conflict. There are indeed models that connect low-intensity contention with civil war.1 Dynamics of large-scale armed conflict, in this sense, may be captured by concepts used in studies of collective action in contexts broader than civil war. However, this study would benefit from studies noting the peculiarity of civil war, because components such as armed groups and fragmented sovereignty, which cannot be dismissed in an exploration of combatant recruitment in civil war, uniquely influence civil-military relations.