Idealizing Conflict: World Polity Network Embeddedness and Consequences for Conduct During War
AuthorDavis, Andrew Paul
AdvisorBreiger, Ronald L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 08/16/2021
AbstractExisting literature establishes that network position is a key factor shaping levels of deviance and conformity. We also know that organizational structure and form can shape network connections for individuals, effectively structuring the network. My dissertation engages with the empirical literature on violent conflict in order to examine how network position in a status hierarchy is related to various outcomes of interest to scholars of armed conflict. Based on theories drawn from the Blau Space approach as well as middle status conformity theories drawn from social psychology, I argue that actors with neither an over-abundance of social ties, nor a dearth of social ties in a network will be least likely to exhibit deviance during conflict. Meanwhile actors that are either oversocializaed or isolated will be more likely to exhibit behavior deemed to be deviant. I test this argument across two major contexts. First a national level analysis, and then a cross-national analysis, is undertaken. A final test explores key mechanisms that underlie the ecological associations I have found. My first study examines the deviant act of defection, or side switching between organizations in conflict using the case of the war in Sierra Leone (1991-2002). I argue based on the Blau Space theory that individuals who share the most social ties, as well as those who are isolated, should be most likely to defect between organizations, rather than those with a middle tier level of social ties. I test this argument by means of a secondary analysis of a representative survey of disarmed combatants from the war. Using statistical tests appropriate for rare categorical outcomes, I find support for the focal argument. The second study explores the extent to which integration in the global network of International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs) is related to state armed forces’ use of what I term large-scale sexual violence during conflict. While world polity approaches would suggest that militaries of nations that are most integrated into the web of INGOs should commit the lowest levels of sexual violence during war, middle status conformity approaches would argue that militaries of nations in the middle of the distribution will commit the lowest levels of sexual violence. I test the middle status conformity argument using publicly available data with advanced quantitative procedures that examine the extent to which a curvilinear relationship exists between INGO network embeddedness and the likelihood of large-scale sexual violence in conflict. Findings from this analysis suggest a great deal of support for the middle status conformity argument, net of theoretically relevant controls. My third study explores a key mechanism of the middle status conformity theory approach – that middle status actors will abide by social norms to a greater degree in part because of a greater degree of social pressure being exerted upon them. This study makes use of data drawn from the text of human rights reports produced by Amnesty International (AI). Using a computational text analytic approach, I examine the polarity of the sentiment of the human rights reports and ask how these reports vary across status hierarchies. To test this argument, I make use of a linear regression procedure with theoretically relevant control variables. Findings reveal that, net of state-level characteristics such as actual human rights practices and commonly used controls such as gross domestic product, nations in the middle of status hierarchies have reports written about their human rights practices that are more negative in tone than those in other positions in the status hierarchy. The major contributions of this dissertation are a novel elaboration of world polity theory based on the concept of middle status conformity, innovative applications of organizational and network theories to the study of side-switching and widespread sexual violence in conflict. I do this by extending formal concepts drawn from organizational ecology and social networks at the global level.
Degree ProgramGraduate College