State of Rebellion

Violence and Intervention in the Central African Republic

Louisa Lombard


An in-depth and revealing account of the violence that has swept the Central African Republic.

Shortlisted for the Fage and Oliver Prize 2018

In 2013, the Central African Republic was engulfed by violence. In the face of the rapid spread of the conflict, journalists, politicians, and academics alike have struggled to account for its origins.

In this first comprehensive account of the country’s recent upheaval, Louisa Lombard shows the limits of the superficial explanations offered thus far – that the violence has been due to a religious divide, or politicians’ manipulations, or profiteering. Instead, she shows that conflict has long been useful to Central African politics, a tendency that has been exacerbated by the international community’s method of engagement with so-called fragile states. Furthermore, changing this state of affairs will require rethinking the relationships of all those present – rebel groups and politicians, as well as international interveners and diplomats.

An urgent insight into this little-understood country and the problems with peacebuilding more broadly.

Author Bio

Louisa Lombard is an assistant professor of anthropology at Yale University. Previously she held a Ciriacy-Wantrup postdoctoral fellowship in natural resource economics at the University of California at Berkeley. She has published widely on politics and conflict in Central Africa. In addition to her academic research, she has worked in the Central African Republic as a field consultant to several international organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Small Arms Survey, Refugees International, and the World Bank. Her previous books include Making Sense of the Central African Republic, co-edited with Tatiana Carayannis (Zed Books, 2015).

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Conflict and the State in the Peace-Kept World
  • 2. The Nativeness of ‘Foreign’ Violence
  • 3. Mobility as Power
  • 4. Long and Short Histories of Rebellion
  • 5. DDR and the Frustration of Desires for Entitlement
  • 6. War as the Violence of the Pack
  • 7. World Champion of Peacekeeping
  • Conclusion


‘Provides a magisterial reading of the role of violence in the making of the CAR. Authoritative, nuanced, and empirically rich.’
Michael Watts, University of California, Berkeley (Emeritus)

‘Those who wish to know Africa today need to know this book.’
Paul Richards, author of No Peace, No War: An Anthropology of Contemporary Armed Conflicts

‘If you want to understand why the CAR seems a perpetual work in regress, then Louisa Lombard’s book is a must-read.’
Stephen W. Smith, Duke University

‘In this stimulating and provocative book, Louisa Lombard proposes a new approach to peace-keeping, peace enforcement and humanitarian action.’
Jean-François Bayart, Graduate Institute Geneva

‘With a stunning combination of conceptual clarity and vivid ethnography, Louisa Lombard’s book challenges conventional wisdom on the roots of violence in the CAR.'
Marielle Debos, author of Living by the Gun in Chad

'A must-read for comparativists and IR scholars interested in peacebuilding, the state, and African politics, as well as for policy makers involved with these issues in the CAR and beyond.'
African Affairs


Publication Date: 15 December 2016
304 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783608843
Hardback: 9781783608850
eBook ePub: 9781783608874
eBook PDF: 9781783608867
eBook Kindle: 9781783608881

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