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Why People Rebel Understanding the causes of Insurgency

  • 16 Pages
  • Published On: 17-11-2023


Rebel can be referred to as opposition towards authority or government. People form groups and their fight is with the dominant or power of a nation. Rebel groups primarily rely on voluntary participation and support of citizens as they are not rented to any government bureau for financial help. In other words, it has been related to the insurgency, which is defined as rebellious acts which could not attain the probabilities for revolution. Besides, it has been recognised that grievances and disputes that have accumulated over centuries among people belonging to different sections of societies from the base of rebellion movements.

As stated by Lewis (2017), Civil wars and rebellions that have arisen were not driven by any kind of ancient hatred between the different groups of the society, but are driven by the sense of relative deprivation interns if the social position and economic benefits. On the other hand, as opined by Lombard (2016), potential rebels can be discouraged by providing all the significant opportunities and responsibilities along with proper governance. At the same time, considering insurgency, Schram (2019), commented that revolution in relation with violence can be referred, as ancient term, which has been utilized by weak people to achieve political and social power. It has been considered to represent people's movement, related to political factors and has been identified to the attainment of independence or any sort of autonomy. It makes use of violent methods by targeting the state apparatus and the security forces. The battle might be violent but intense and is considered as the battle of mindsets of different people based on their anticipated reasons.


Reason for rebel


Nowadays the internal conflicts are increasing very quickly. The scholars started to find the root of the rebellion or the internal conflicts. The scholars focused on the economic intentions of the rebellion.

The economic causes are the main factors for the people to rebel (Zartman, 2019). A rebellion is like an organized crime that generates income by levy. In other words, rebellion is an organized crime.

Scholars are concerned with the rebellions which are larger groups that continue for a long time resulting in more casualties.

As per the views of Perez (2019), this is the experimental definition of the rebellion.

Scholars suggest that rebellion is a critical phenomenon because the motive of the levy is different.

The typical target of the crime levies on the path to achieving a particular goal in social phenomenon. The actual condition is more complex but the main truth is that natural resources increase the greed to earn more.

According to Lee (2020), the economic cause of rebellion opens the chances of achieving the political goals which marks the sources of most of the insurgencies for the criticisms and arguments on the point of racial and caste distinctions.

Henshaw (2016), stated that the grants for appointing the army officers come from the various revenues at the time of civil wars. In fact, the greed of having more asset values influenced the beginning of the wars.

It is widely seen that most of the civil wars are caused by the effects of the envious unstable condition in the political spheres.


Economic Grievance:

The economic grievance starts from the unequal distribution of the income of the citizens in a country (BASUCHOUDHARY, 2018).

The unemployment of the people is a big deal.

When the difference in income is huge the rebellion groups strengthen motives and create a posture against the economically advanced groups.

The potential of economic grievance is mostly seen in the formation of major gaps in employment (Paine, 2019). A high percentage of revenue is obtained by the 10% of the population, at a ratio of 1.25 PPP per day.

Over the past few decades, the economic grievances which come from environmental degradation are highly important (Paine, 2019). A rich percentage of the people are working in a low share of agriculture in GDP.

The scarcity of essentials resources like food, water, the land dispute are the main problems of the people (Gutiérrez and Thomson, 2020). Chances for the environmental grievance may be ascertained by looking in the geographic portion of the country by sharing the waterways with the other countries, availability of the land, etc.

The theoretical and pragmatic parts which are determined by the grievances for financial causes are believed to have interacted from various identifications in the context of dynamic traits.

Zartman (2019) opined that the critical positions of the recognitions specified the beliefs to impose mobilizing powers in order to capture the powers. Both the micro and macro frameworks predict the unique nature of the involvement for the economic gains in the society.

The concept of realism brought the potential to impoverish the contributions in the originality and official ways by different approaches in the strategies

Political grievance:

The main part of political grievances bears the inequality in political penetration, government illicitness, and corruption.

The countries which mostly do not have a politically elected leader, corrupted or a highly bureaucratic government have a high risk of civil rebellion.

As per the concept of Bowden (2017), the potential of the political grievances may be designated with the help of the corruption perceptions index that controls the corruption variables in the world governance indicator and thus possesses many aspects in the polity IV state fragility index.

Political grievances may also be revealed through the religious groups. An abrupt change towards religious, ethnic identification or increase in the hate speech has a possibility of indicating a domestic instability which is the cause of rebellion.

A successful rebellion is the one who is financially and militarily feasible.

In this context, the country has a high risk of civil rebellion or civil unrest (Loyle, 2020). The government should have clearly defined the political elite.

The scholars argued that the grievances of the individuals on the matter of his or her economic position in society are the main factors that create the difference among the participants in violence and the non-participants.

According to Huang (2016), the common mass possesses a class which would be the main functioning head of the people in rebellion. In other words, it owes the ability to perceive and thus absorb the capital enlightenment by individuals. The rural people try to lavish at the requirements of the urban ones.

Asangna (2017) evaluated that the adoption from the rebellion attack of Sierra Leone that the strong unity of the students’ community against the government did not allow the regime to win by any chance.

The instances of political grievance are the most common ones. The corrupted conditions of the government system integrate the formation of rebel communities.

The failures in educational development provoke the internal matters to outburst with great fury.

The competition between the political parties forms the base to remove the current authority and impose their own rules.

The democratic government is always scrutinized by the common people. Any breach of the policies results in revolt.

The biased policies on the part of the government and the executives are truly worse in nature. There are several cases where the government showed biased attitudes towards the politically or economically powerful people.

It was a noticeable fact in the medieval era that the citizens of a country would revolt against the orthodox society or the aristocrats who used to dominate over the people. The French Revolution deserves special mention in this regard (Bertaud, 2019). The unequal fortunes of the people tormented their minds to take revenge against the then regime.

The colonial countries revolted against the governments to achieve freedom. The native inhabitants rebelled in opposition to the atrocity of the governing bodies (Rao, 2016). The Revolt of 1857 in India deserves special mention where the ethnic troops revolted against the tyrannical British government.

Inequalities and Discrimination

To abate the conflicts and rebellion two policies are mainly important.

The first one is addressing the stable inequalities in education, asset ownership, and health. The second one deals with the promotions of having an inferior rate in growth.

Since the end of the cold war, civil war has become the primary form of hostilities (Lee, 2020). Plato with his student and follower Aristotle attributed towards the internal conflict of the Athens of antiquity to three factors which are still re-echoing with our modern society.

Stewart first coined the term Horizontal inequality to describe the inequality between communities along with religious, ethnic, or identity differences as a probable cause of internal conflict.

Both the economically developed and underdeveloped provinces can cause conflicts.

The period from 1980 has been recited as the second era of economic globalization (Huang, 2016). It had developed international trade that

has changed the functional distribution of the income. The era of globalization had caused the emergence of the inequality in income between nations.

This also multiplied the risks of rebellion because the educated and professional occupiers are involved in developing countries that feel more raft than their counterparts in wealthy countries.

It pointed out the present domination for worrying in the development community.

Successfully developed countries like India, with potential growth, are facing localized revolts (Gutiérrez and Thomson, 2020). The influence of the inequality on the prevalence of intrastate conflicts or the civil war.

In recent studies, most of the on inequality conflicts have focused on the conflicts fought in the ethnic group.

The modern study says that inequality increases like the hood of a famous rebellion.

The inequality between the groups defined by the religion, regional identity, and ethnic links with significant armed conflict (Loyle, 2020).

The growth of inequality is mostly concerned with numerous reasons. But this is not a significant reason for armed conflict.

Inequality is not strong enough to make or become a united force to bring together the groups with a huge quantity of rebels against the country.

In the last 10-15years, the conflicts explored the navel on the group equality (BASUCHOUDHARY, 2018). In many countries, groups are very unequal in political power, social status, and wealth.

The racial discrimination among the communities in terms of skin colour, known as apartheid, was a major problem found in the African and American nations (Perez, 2019). This issue is prevalent even in today’s world.

Discriminations on the account of gender are very prominent. The violence against women caused the community members to be engaged in the criminals (Lee, 2020). It is widely seen that such discriminations caused severe conflicts in the societies.

Major Old and new Theories of mobilization

An insurgent rises as a result of combating the existing political policies which are not being accepted by few of the mortals. However between 1946 and 2013 studies stated that only bisection of all civil wars was fought solitarily by a rebel group, the rest were grappled by a combination of armed factions. Margetis (2020), has opined that it is directly proportional with the demand for a political change. The more severe the demand is for a change, the more likely it results in forming rebels, which in turn gives a more logical and predictable reason for the formation of rebels.

Traditional concepts of the causes of insurgency

This study further explains the number of theories which put it together will elaborate the aforesaid topic for a better understanding of the same. An old mobilization theory, the resource mobilization perspective is a conjecture that finds to describe the exposure of a communal maneuver. This resource was successfully executed into action during the civil rights movement.

To give a brief study of this resource few key points are to be discussed:

Toro (2020), rightly stated that the resource mobilization theory propounds a communal motion formed only when a group of people splits outrage and are able to display assets and take measures.

Assets or funds are placed at the middle of the exposure and favourable outcome of the communal motion (Kavanagh et al.2020).

In the case of resource mobilization the assets incorporate the money, means, exertion, awareness, lawfulness etc from a sturdy aristocracy.

The median of assets describes the favorable outcome of the communal movement and reveals how few dissatisfied mankind are liable to form movements and others cannot.

On the contrary, Michael et al.(2020), stated that the resource mobilization theory has been censured for putting so much prominence on the monetary assets rather than the arrangement and the hardship of the members.

There has always been a contradiction between the conventional perception and the resource mobilization theory principally the behavioral conjecture that has risen vastly contrasting the inceptions of social. The vivid study by Souleimanov and Ratelle (2017), reveals that the Jihadist ideology is an offshoot of insurgent mobilization rather than its origin.

Resource mobilization theory

The analysis made also brings out the rough and bitter side of the revolution. Humphreys and Weinstein (2006), revealed in their research that the count of squabbles between the non-military conflicting groups aims at the non militant attacks through savagery. The evaluation lime lights on the facts and facets of the studies to draw a profile of the basic disagreements regarding resource mobilization theory and to ingress the major issues in the particular field censoriously which in turn is comprised of the emergence of the movement, the procedure of mobilization, the organization of the social movements and the consequences of the provocation. On the other hand, Souleimanov and Aliyev (2015), the combat processes that are effective and at the same time obscured offensive implemented procedures that inspire violent mobilization in paramilitary wars. The most common factors that affect the major violent mobilizing theories are discussed


The rebellious groups take help of the common non combatant peoples to implement the plan of revenge taking off the mass grievance (Weiss, 2020). The study revealed a civil war and its repercussions.

Violent mobilization of irregular wars leads to conflict amongst the non military groups destroying the peace of the place (Vazquez, 2020). It determines that the community has brought tranquility after a terrible war, which commanded the mobilization of the whole troop.

The protests made by the rebellious groups show the greed and the grievances that affect the nation resulting in civil wars within the country (Hatherell and Welsh, 2017).

The situation of agitation and turmoil revolts to seek changes in the situation.

The social maneuver is a determined, assembled mass that works eagerly to achieve a goal by involving the mass of citizens to work for them.

The theory deals with the encompassing of the non militant group to incur the use of the resources to the fullest.

The resource mobilization theory declares the communal motion of the civil group to share their injustice and achieve their goal through movement’s goals.

Communication gaps between the government and the common people bring rage and grievance among them to raise a revolt.

The study clearly reveals that the most troublesome thing is the investigation of the individual and the societal change in the resource mobilization terms.

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Three topic-related questions for class discussion

How do the geographical factors result in insurgency?

How can the corruption of the governing body raise the conflicts in socio-political conditions?

How does the educational system be disrupted by making the path for antisocial activities?


The most common factors of insurgency in various countries are distinctive. Social, political, environmental, racial, and religious mannerisms are highly responsible.

The geographical causes play a vital role (Revkin, 2020). It is often found that the remote regions which lack enough communication system are the main origins of rebels (Bowden, 2017). It happens because of the insecurity among the tribal communities that makes the situation sensitive and competitive.

It is inspected that the feeling of being isolated and neglected torments the mentality of the people and initiates the rage against the government (Butcher, 2017).

The lack of economic prosperity exploits them from even the basic needs. The greed and grievances develops because of being victimized. The poverty and unemployment degrades the situations (Farias, 2016). In other words, the youths are enraged for the inequality that resulted in the unwanted struggles in the communities.

The political uncertainty of the states and the social hostility is a major trait for the rebels in the countries (Gürcan, 2019). The corrupted governmental policies fueled up the conflicts at a wide range.

The antisocial activities in the local areas thus increase immensely. Several disordered works like smuggling, robbery, trafficking, murders, slavery, etc. starts growing. The children are recruited for felonious activities.

As a matter of fact, the educational system is in vague at such regions. The corrupted government dithers to take any action against such procedures.

The socio-political envy destroys the life of common people. The religious conflicts are more communal in nature. However, the infuriating nature is stimulated by the misdeeds of the governing members mostly.


There are several speculations that tried to bring out the reasons for the insurgency. Although the topic of rivalry has a shaky ground which is yet to be discovered thoroughly.

As per the theories and the results derived by observing the rebel activities, formulates the postulation that the socio-political uncertainty is the primary reason. Apart from that, the economic factors have a huge part. The poverty and unemployment frustrates the mind of the people.

The greed to have more and more resources acts as the paramount eccentricity that determines the rebellion character.

Other than that, any grievance to opt for better opportunities in the future or past provokes the situation. People from the isolated regions mostly have the belief of being exploited from all the necessities and experience being alienated.

Such virtues frame the mobilizing powers of individual beings.

The reciprocal behaviors in the communal margins analyze the internal conditions of disobedience.

There are even some postulations that predict the logical and team activities which support the base of the society.

The social norms are in fact violated and disrupted for the cause.

The vulnerable actions of the communal riots indeed differ from the anguishing activities of the terrorists.

In other words, the competitiveness in the society stretches the outcomes in such a manner that it keeps the power of the government in check.

The corrupted, as well as dominant activities of the authorities require to be reduced to calm down the possibilities of any squabble


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