A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Extremes of asymmetric conflict: terrorism and genocide


The nature of political violence is changing. War between states is becoming rare, but political violence between states and non-state groups — asymmetric conflict — is growing more common. The origins of this trend are many, but increases in state power, at least for some states, is probably a crucial source of the problem. As modern states dispose of an increasing share of the gross national product (GNP) within their borders (Tullock, 2002), any subgroup getting less than its share of government spending — or believing that it is getting less — is falling behind. Increased government spending means that government reaches deeper into everyday lives to affect education, housing, healthcare, employment, marriage, and even the very definitions of life and death. The values expressed in state power are reinforced, and the survival of cultural groups without state support may be in danger.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

McCauley C. 2012. "Extremes of asymmetric conflict: terrorism and genocide." In Daniel J. Christie (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Peace Psychology, first edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9780470672532.wbepp052

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