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Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order.[1] It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority.

A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and then manifests itself by the refusal to submit or to obey the authority responsible for this situation. Rebellion can be individual or collective, peaceful (civil disobedience, civil resistance, and nonviolent resistance) or violent (terrorism, sabotage and guerrilla warfare.)

In political terms, rebellion and revolt are often distinguished by their different aims. If rebellion generally seeks to evade and/or gain concessions from an oppressive power, a revolt seeks to overthrow and destroy that power, as well as its accompanying laws. The goal of rebellion is resistance while a revolt seeks a revolution.[citation needed] As power shifts relative to the external adversary, or power shifts within a mixed coalition, or positions harden or soften on either side, an insurrection may seesaw between the two forms.

Spearheaded by political scientist and anthropologist James C. Scott in his book James C. Scott in his book The Moral Economy of the Peasant, the moral economy school considers moral variables such as social norms, moral values, interpretation of justice, and conception of duty to the community as the prime influencers of the decision to rebel. This perspective still adheres to Olson's framework, but it considers different variables to enter the cost/benefit analysis: the individual is still believed to be rational, albeit not on material but moral grounds.[44]

Early conceptualization: E. P. Thompson and bread riots in England

Before being fully conceptualized by Scott, British historian E.P. Thompson was the first to use the term "moral economy" in Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century.E.P. Thompson was the first to use the term "moral economy" in Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century.[45] In this work, he discussed English bread riots, regular, localized form of rebellion by English peasants all through the 18th century. Such events, Thompson argues, have been routinely dismissed as "riotous", with the connotation of being disorganized, spontaneous, undirected, and undisciplined. In other words, anecdotal. The reality, he suggests, was otherwise: such riots involved a coordinated peasant action, from the pillaging of food convoys to the seizure of grain shops. Here, while a scholar such as Popkin would have argued that the peasants were trying to gain material benefits (crudely: more food), Thompson sees a legitimization factor, meaning "a belief that [the peasants] were defending traditional rights and customs". Thompson goes on to write: "[the riots were] legitimized by the assumptions of an older moral economy, which taught the immorality of any unfair method of forcing up the price of provisions by profiteering upon the necessities of the people". Later, reflecting on this work, Thompson would also write: "My object of analysis was the mentalité, or, as I would prefer, the political culture, the expectations, traditions, and indeed, superstitions of the working population most frequently involved in actions in the market".[46] The opposition between a traditional, paternalist, and the communitarian set of values clashing with the inverse liberal, capitalist, and market-derived ethics is central to explain rebellion.

James C. Scott and the formalization of the moral economy argument

In The Moral Economy of Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia, James C. Scott looks at the impact of exogenous economic and political shocks on peasant communities in Southeast Asia. Scott finds that peasants are mostly in the business of surviving and producing enough to subsist.[47] Therefore, any extractive regime needs to respect this careful equilibrium. He labels this phenomenon the "subsistence ethic".[48] A landowner operating in such communities is seen to have the moral duty to prioritize the peasant's subsistence over his constant benefit. According to Scott, the powerful colonial state accompanied by market capitalism did not respect this fundamental hidden law in peasant societies. Rebellious movements occurred as the reaction to an emotional grief, a moral outrage.[49]

Other non-material incentives

Blattman and Ralston recognize the importance of i

Blattman and Ralston recognize the importance of immaterial selective incentives, such as anger, outrage, and injustice ("grievance") in the roots of rebellions. These variables, they argue, are far from being irrational, as they are sometimes presented. They identify three main types of grievance arguments:

  1. Intrinsic incentives holds that "injustice or perceived transgression generates an intrinsic willingness to punish or seek retribution".[53] Rebellion, or any sort of political violence, are not binary conflicts but must be understood as interactions between public and private identities and actions. The "convergence of local motives and supralocal imperatives" make studying and theorizing rebellion a very complex affair, at the intersection between the political and the private, the collective and the individual.[54] Kalyvas argues that we often try to group political conflicts according to two structural paradigms:

    1. The idea that political violence, and more specifically rebellion, is characterized by a complete breakdown of authority and an anarchic state. This is inspired by Thomas Hobbes' views. The approach sees rebellion as being motivated by greed and loot, using violence to break down the power structures of society.[53]
    2. The idea that all political violence is inherently motivated by an abstract group of loyalties and beliefs, "whereby the political enemy becomes a private adversary only by virtue of prior collective and impersonal enmity".[53] Violence is thus not a "man to man" affair as much as a :state to state" struggle, if not an "idea vs idea" conflict.[53]

    Kalyvas' key insight is that the central vs periphery dynamic is fundamental in political conflicts. Any individual actor, Kalyvas posits, enters into a calculated alliance with the collective.[55] Rebellions thus cannot be analyzed in molar categories, nor should we assume that individuals are automatically in line with the rest of the actors simply by virtue of ideological, religious, ethnic, or class cleavage. The agency is located both within the collective and in the individual, in the universal and the local.[55] Kalyvas writes: "Alliance entails a transaction between supralocal and local actors, whereby the former supply the later with external muscle, thus allowing them to win decisive local advantage, in exchange the former rely on local conflicts to recruit and motivate supporters and obtain local control, resources, and information- even when their ideological agenda is opposed to localism".[55] Individuals will thus aim to use the rebellion in order to gain some sort of local advantage, while the collective actors will aim to gain power. Violence is a mean as opposed to a goal, according to Kalyvas.

    The greater takeaway from this central/local analytical lens is that violence is not an anarchic tactic or a manipulation by an ideology, but a conversation between the two. Rebellions are "concatenations of multiple and often disparate local cleavages, more or less loosely arranged around the master cleavage".[55] Any pre-conceived explanation or theory of a conflict must not be placated on a situation, lest one will construct a reality that adapts itself to his pre-conceived idea. Kalyvas thus argues that political conflict is not always political in the sense that they cannot be reduced to a certain discourse, decisions, or ideologies from the "center" of collective action. Instead, the focus must be on "local cleavages and intracommunity dynamics".[55] Rebellions thus cannot be analyzed in molar categories, nor should we assume that individuals are automatically in line with the rest of the actors simply by virtue of ideological, religious, ethnic, or class cleavage. The agency is located both within the collective and in the individual, in the universal and the local.[55] Kalyvas writes: "Alliance entails a transaction between supralocal and local actors, whereby the former supply the later with external muscle, thus allowing them to win decisive local advantage, in exchange the former rely on local conflicts to recruit and motivate supporters and obtain local control, resources, and information- even when their ideological agenda is opposed to localism".[55] Individuals will thus aim to use the rebellion in order to gain some sort of local advantage, while the collective actors will aim to gain power. Violence is a mean as opposed to a goal, according to Kalyvas.

    The greater takeaway from this central/local analytical lens is that violence is not an anarchic tactic or a manipulation by an ideology, but a conversation between the two. Rebellions are "concatenations of multiple and often disparate local cleavages, more or less loosely arranged around the master cleavage".[55] Any pre-conceived explanation or theory of a conflict must not be placated on a situation, lest one will construct a reality that adapts itself to his pre-conceived idea. Kalyvas thus argues that political conflict is not always political in the sense that they cannot be reduced to a certain discourse, decisions, or ideologies from the "center" of collective action. Instead, the focus must be on "local cleavages and intracommunity dynamics".[56] Furthermore, rebellion is not "a mere mechanism that ope

    The greater takeaway from this central/local analytical lens is that violence is not an anarchic tactic or a manipulation by an ideology, but a conversation between the two. Rebellions are "concatenations of multiple and often disparate local cleavages, more or less loosely arranged around the master cleavage".[55] Any pre-conceived explanation or theory of a conflict must not be placated on a situation, lest one will construct a reality that adapts itself to his pre-conceived idea. Kalyvas thus argues that political conflict is not always political in the sense that they cannot be reduced to a certain discourse, decisions, or ideologies from the "center" of collective action. Instead, the focus must be on "local cleavages and intracommunity dynamics".[56] Furthermore, rebellion is not "a mere mechanism that opens up the floodgates to random and anarchical private violence".[56] Rather, it is the result of a careful and precarious alliance between local motivations and collective vectors to help the individual cause.