Bankruptcy, Guns, or Campaigns: Explaining Armed Organizations’ Post-War Trajectories


Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowships


This dissertation seeks to explain variation in the post-war trajectories of armed organizations. Through in-depth analysis of the demilitarization of over 700 paramilitary-community dyads in Colombia, it gains analytic leverage on the question of when and why, post-peace agreement, armed groups disappear, return to arms, or form non-violent political entities. It employs a multi-method approach including in-depth case studies of paramilitary blocs that followed divergent post-war paths, semi-structured expert interviews, content analysis of a database of national and regional press, and ex-combatant surveys. In addition, it finds that armed forces’ recruitment and alliance patterns best account for variation in the dismantling of paramilitary political, financial, and coercive structures.