Date of Award

Fall 10-26-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Carrie Manning

Second Advisor

Jelena Subotic

Third Advisor

Daniel Young


With the extant work on civil war duration as a starting point, this project uses the Ugandan case to identify and address theoretical aporias in our existing understanding of the determinants of duration. The vast majority of existing work begins with the assumption that the rebel force is the determining factor in the duration of conflict. Challenging this assumption, I argue that civil war duration should be understood as a function of the calculations made by both the rebel units and the established state, a dynamic that has implications for the way in which we think of the preferences of the state. Finally, that incentive structures exist, given the nature of post-colonial states that lower the utility of peace for elected leadership and reduce their willingness to provide peace as a collective good to the broader population as civil war can be used as one of Jeffrey Herbst’s buffer mechanisms.