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Chelsea Johnson

Splintering and spoilers in peace processes: Lessons from the rise of the Lord's Resistance Army

Colloquium: CAS event | August 29 | 12:30-2 p.m. | 223 Moses Hall


Chelsea Johnson, Fellow of Comparative Politics, The London School of Economics and Political Science

Center for African Studies


Very little research has been done to date on bargaining for peace in the context of a fractionalized armed opposition. Most work in the field of conflict resolution suggests that multidimensional peace agreements are inherently unstable and prone to breakdown, and that dyadic bargaining can produce dyadic peace despite the behavior of excluded "spoilers." This project contributes new data on armed groups and negotiated settlements (1975-2005), as well as insights gained from field research on peace processes in Uganda. Specifically, the emergence of the Lord's Resistance Army in the late-1980s illustrates the ways in which armed groups that are excluded from peace processes create opportunities that allow potential defectors from the rebel signatory party to access the resources of war. This pattern is borne out in a series of empirical tests, which show that non-inclusive settlements are significantly less likely to achieve conflict termination between government-and-rebel dyads, especially when the terms of the settlement fail to provide benefits that incentivize the entirety of the rebel leadership to comply.

Chelsea Johnson is a Fellow in the Government department and the MSc program in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her research focuses on conflict resolution and power sharing in war-to-democracy transitions, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. At the LSE, she teaches Masters courses on comparative democratization and politics and conflict in Africa. Since completing her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 2015, she has also worked as a postdoctoral research fellow on a project examing state failure in Africa at the Carnegie Institute/University of Alaska, Anchorage.


asc@berkeley.edu, 510-642-8338