Militarisation of Governance After Conflict: Beyond the Rebel-to-Ruler Frame – The Case of Rwanda

Andrea Purdekova, Filip Reyntjens, Nina Wilen

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In this article, we develop and expand the rebel-to-ruler literature to go beyond ‘rebel transformations’, in order to examine the transformation and militarisation of the entire post-genocide society in Rwanda. Through a historical and socio-political analysis of the military’s influence in post-genocide Rwanda, we argue that the adoption of military norms and ethos, drawn from an idealised and reconstructed pre-colonial history rather than simply an insurgent past, motivates the military’s centrality and penetration of all society’s sectors, economically, politically and socially, with the ultimate aim of retaining power in the hands of the rebels turned rulers. As such, the case demonstrates the need for an expansion of the rebel-to-ruler literature (1) beyond its concern with parties and regime type to a broader palette of governance effects and (2) beyond its singular focus on insurgent past and towards a longue-durée understanding of complementary causes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-174
Number of pages17
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number1
Early online date8 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Militarisation
  • Rwanda
  • governance
  • post-conflict
  • rebel-to-ruler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development


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