The past century of research has identified a host of economic, political, demographic, and other factors that seem to be associated with the prevalence of riots. The study of riots has, however, probably focused too much on these “push” factors that lead to violence and not enough on understanding the response of the state to riots. Understanding the political incentives that motivate democratic and authoritarian states to sometimes allow riots to take place and at other times to take the strongest possible law-and-order measures to prevent them is key to understanding variation in violence. Scholars also need to pay more attention to the psychological factors that encourage people to riot, and to the micro-logic of target choice within these larger events.

Keyword(s): ethnicmobilizationviolence

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  • Article Type: Review Article
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