Ideologies and conflict in the post-Cold War

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Abstract

Purpose - The aim of this article is to apply a re-worked definition of ideology in order to account for cultural and political dimensions of contemporary armed conflicts. Design/methodology/approach - The paper analyzes communiqus, press releases, magazines, pamphlets, speeches, interviews and other communicational media produced by insurgent organizations in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia, particularly in the post-Cold War, in order to assess the characteristics of their ideological platforms. The extensive use of these primary sources aims at revealing the way the organizations see themselves, and how important ideological warfare is in their overall strategy. Findings - In the post-Cold War, and even in the early twenty-first century, armed guerrillas persisted in linking their armed struggle to ideological platforms, though in more flexible versions. Nationalism, fundamentalism and socialism are functional to their tactics and strategies, and have tangible effects at strategic and tactical levels. Research limitations/implications - Three sample cases have been revised exhaustively, but that methodology impedes the examination of a wider spectrum of post-Cold War insurgent organizations, which may balance the results here presented. However, the high relevance of the ideological component in contemporary armed conflicts, as shown in the Afghan, Congolese and Colombian cases, demonstrates the need for further academic works on this topic. Practical implications - Re-defining ideology, as the paper proposes, turns it into a powerful conceptual tool to be used in academic research, given that precisely the absence of comprehensive categories of analysis has prevented scholars from providing a full picture of the political and cultural dimensions of contemporary armed conflicts. Originality/value - As economic-focused researches on armed conflicts have dominated the field since the 1990s, the paper underlines the need for scholars to approach a broader scope in peace studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-104
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 13 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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