What Drives Individuals to Join Armed Organizations? The Role of Revenge, Moral Sentiments, and Social Networks

Organized crime and armed groups often permeate large parts of society of less “developed” countries. To sustain their violent operations, armed groups need to recruit reliable violent labor, and then, they need to manage it. New recruits usually join knowing they will take unusually high life-threatening risks, which often involves murdering other people. Why do individuals make this decision? In this study, I propose to exploit a context and a relationship I previously built with a large scale armed organization to answer this question, and examine the trajectories in the organization of individuals with different motives. The study aims to shed light on the traditionally unexplored role of moral sentiments of injustice and parochial revenge, and their impact for recruitment and violent labor management.

RFP Cycle:
First Round (Fall 2017)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Raul Sanchez de la Sierra
  • Full project