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Battles Over Perceptions Among Violent Non-state Actors

Greene, Kevin (2020) Battles Over Perceptions Among Violent Non-state Actors. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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There is a growing consensus in the political violence literature that competition between violent non-state actors contributes to longer conflicts and more dramatic forms of violence. However, violence, as a solitary tactic, is too blunt of an instrument for political groups, to effectively compete with rivals and mobilize support. Instead violence, without additional context, leads to a series of ambiguities, which undermine a group's short and long term goals. I detail how messaging allows groups to clarify the innate ambiguities of violence, and helps mobilize resources. To identify evidence for the proposed mechanism I first develop a typology of the strategies used by these actors, then use a machine learning model to extract these occurrence from their statements. By moving beyond bag-of-words based representations and leveraging additional tools from natural language processing I am able to show significant variation in group communication, both in the strategies employed and the aspects discussed. I observe that groups devote considerable attention both to promoting their broader political agenda, and to undermining the goals and actions of their rivals.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Greene, Kevinktg19@pitt.eduktg19
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairColaresi,
Committee MemberSavun, Burcu
Committee MemberHayes, Jude
Committee MemberMetternich, Nils
Date: 16 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: June 2020
Approval Date: 16 September 2020
Submission Date: 30 June 2020
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 124
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: non-state actors, text analysis
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 13:52
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2022 05:15

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