Call for Papers:

Between rebellion and governance: violence, legitimacy, and control by armed groups in civil wars

Special Issue for Partecipazione e Conflitto


Guest editors:

Siniša Malešević (University College, Dublin, Ireland) and Stefan Malthaner (Hamburg Institute for Social Research)



In the traditional civil war scholarship, the state and rebellious armed groups have often been treated as completely disparate phenomena. Whereas the state was defined by its ability to govern and maintain monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, the organized resistance was largely associated with illegitimate violent attacks on the state. This traditional dichotomy has recently been challenged by new research that indicates a more complex relationships between the state, armed rebellious organizations, and their wider social surroundings. This special issue seeks to explore these complex and diverse relationship between armed groups and their local social environment – as well as other, transnational constituencies and reference groups – in civil wars and other processes of political violence. We invite contributions on a broad range of aspects, including, but not limited to (1) territoriality and the notion of territorial control; (2) collusion and continuities between state- and non-state armed actors and patterns of “rebel governance” against, in the shadow, or commissioned by the state, as well as the role of private military contractors and criminal organizations; (3) how the internationalization of armed conflicts reshapes relationships of domination and control; (4) the interrelation of violence, legitimacy, and control – and the effects of coercive practices as well as their institutionalization and routinization; (5) Practices and experiences of – as well as resistance to – “rebel governance” and the transformation or resilience of local social structures. In particular, we encourage empirical studies and comparative analyses that approach the topic in innovative ways, exploring the boundaries of (and alternatives to) state-centered political orders as well as continuities between armed conflict and (local, and international) routine politics.


With this special issue we seek to bring together contributions from different disciplines and fields of research. Theoretically informed empirical analyses are preferred, but we also invite primarily theoretical or methodological papers that contribute innovative approaches.


Submission procedure:

Articles, written in English, should be submitted to the guest editors according to the following schedule:

- Submission of long abstracts (about 500 words): 31th of October 2020

- Selection of long abstracts: 15th of November 2020

- Submission of articles: 31st of May 2021

- Provision of peer review feedback: 31st of July 2021

- Submission of revised drafts: 30th of November 2022

- Publication of the issue: March 2022

Articles should be no longer than 10,000 words, including notes and references.

Please refer to the editorial guidelines available at

Please address any queries to the guest editors – Proposals and papers have to be sent to the guest editors: Siniša Malešević (; Stefan Malthaner ( ).

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e-ISSN: 2035-6609