Rebel Interdependence: Essays on Ethnic Mobilization, Competition, and Inclusion

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



Ethnic groups within and beyond national borders are interdependent. They are connected via kindred, shared experiences, shared geographic spaces, and so on. How do these interdependencies among ethnic groups affect their mobilizations against their governments, their competition toward one another, and their pursuit of power-sharing and political inclusion? This dissertation views ethnic groups as interdependent actors. It specifically investigates how ethnic interdependence affects subsequent mobilization, competition, and inclusion. It contains three distinct but related essays. The first essay examines the impact of interstate hostility on the risk of ethnic civil wars through the lens of trans-border ethnic kin (TEK) groups. It finds that militarized dispute between a state-at-risk and an external state increases the likelihood of ethnic wars in the state-at-risk. Moreover, this effect is not conditional on its TEK group's access to power in the external state. The second essay considers how ethnic competition at a subnational level related to the surrounding area of an ethnic group affects the risk of ethnic conflict. It argues that local competition provides opportunities for strategic exploitation by governments, thereby undermining the collective capabilities of potential rebellions and creating co-opted groups with governments. The analysis shows that ethnic groups in areas where local ethnic competition is high are less likely to fight with governments, especially for territorial conflicts. The final essay of this dissertation examines how interdependencies via similar experiences and shared spaces affect an ethnic group's political inclusion in the center. It argues that similarities in experience help governments learn and assess the consequences of granting concessions to other aggrieved groups, thereby producing an intrastate diffusion of political inclusion. In brief, this dissertation contributes to our understanding of the consequences of interdependence among ethnic groups in ethnic politics in the contemporary world.





Chen, Chong (2019). Rebel Interdependence: Essays on Ethnic Mobilization, Competition, and Inclusion. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.