Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


International Relations


Amy Oakes

Committee Members

Robert Vinson

Dennis Smith


This paper provides a heuristic to determine the potential effects of violent non-state actors (VNSAs) on stability. It classifies VNSAs by type, categorizing groups as either clientelist, communal, or corporate. It finds that corporate VNSAs, those organized around a shared but non-ascriptive identity, such as membership in a guild or society, generally behave in a manner that is most likely to create stability. This hypothesis is supported through an in-depth examination of the Civil Defense Forces, a corporate VNSA that played a crucial role during the 1991-2002 Sierra Leone Civil War.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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