How Rebels Get What They Want

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This dissertation examines the often-unseen nonviolent world of nonviolence in armed rebellion. Although states often act and react to violent rebellion, recent research has highlighted nonviolent, governance and service activities rebels take on for survival of their organization. However, little is known about the effects of these behaviors. Theorizing a new category of rebel activity called legitimacy-seeking nonviolence, I show the ways that rebels peacefully “get what they want.” Legitimacy-seeking nonviolence works by reducing concerns over information and commitment that keep rebels and states from reaching a mutually-beneficial bargain. In the following papers, I highlight three behaviors, diplomacy, local interdependence networks, and peace enforcement via gender inclusion, that rebels used that facilitate successful negotiations and durable peace with the state in Southeast Asia. In concluding, this dissertation asks scholars, academics, and policymakers to rethink traditional conceptions of rebels, violence, and conflict and outline scenarios where giving in to some demands would be preferable to continued violence.