Bringing the Insurgents Back In: Early Wars in British India

Lilach Gilady, Joseph MacKay

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    What role do weaker actors play in determining the outcomes of irregular wars? The literature on counterinsurgency outcomes has tended to explain weak-side victory either as a result of informational asymmetries caused by constraints on counterinsurgent forces, or as a result of suboptimal strategic choices by the state. We suggest that this underplays the role of insurgents themselves; we attempt to "bring the insurgents back in," giving variation in insurgent polity a role in explaining their own victories and defeats. In order to do so, we focus inductively on a relatively novel pool of cases: Great Britain's wars in India from the mid-eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries. Doing so allows us to hold the counterinsurgent side constant while evaluating variance among the insurgents themselves. We find that variance on the insurgent side is indeed significant in determining outcomes, and suggest possible reasons why this occurs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)797-817pp
    JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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