Narrative as a Critical Component for Violent Weaker Actor Success
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Conflicts exist within a narrative about a society, a government, and the people’s place within it that they use to make sense of their world. Since 1945, conventionally weaker military actors have had increasing success against stronger actors by exploiting dissonance in that narrative to incrementally displace existing governing structures and establish control. This strategy takes time as the weaker actor employs a strategy of exhaustion that drains the will and resources of the stronger actor. This dissertation demonstrates this theory through three case studies: Hezbollah against Israel (1982-2000 and 2006), the Taliban against the United States (2001-present), and the Islamic State (ISIS) against Iraq and the United States-led coalition (2014-present). Each case presents a different way a weaker actor accomplished disruption, displacement, and exhaustion.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Literature review -- The argument -- Case study: Hezbollah -- Case Study: Taliban -- Case study: Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) -- Conclusion -- Appendix. Story coding
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)