My article on 'Ideology and Armed Conflict' has just been published in Volume 56, Issue 5 of the Journal of Peace Research. The article can be found here, and the abstract is pasted below:
A growing wave of scholarship suggests that ideology has demonstrable effects on various forms of armed conflict. But ideology remains a relative theoretical newcomer in conflict research, and scholars lack developed microfoundations for analyzing ideologies and their effects. Typically, existing research has primarily presented ideology as either an instrumental tool for conflict actors or a source of sincere political and normative commitments. But neither approach captures the diverse ways in which contemporary social science theorizes the causal connection between ideas and action, and both struggle to reconcile the apparently strong effects of ideology on conflict at the collective level with the relative rarity of ‘true believers’ at the individual level. This article addresses such problems by providing key microfoundations for conceptualizing ideologies, analyzing ideological change, and explaining ideologies’ influence over conflict behavior. I emphasize that ideology overlaps with other drivers of conflict such as strategic interests and group identities, show how ideologies can affect conflict behavior through four distinct mechanisms – commitment, adoption, conformity, and instrumentalization – and clarify the role of both conflict pressures and pre-existing ideological conditions in ideological change. These microfoundational claims integrate existing empirical findings and offer a foundation for building deeper explanations and middle-range theories of ideology’s role in armed conflict.