How Rebel Groups Socialize: Introducing the Socialisation & Political Education in Rebel Groups (SOPERG) Data Project
Why do some rebel groups perpetrate conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) while others do not? Research has shown that rebel socialization can be facilitated through the perpetration of CRSV. I argue that political education as a socialization practice can be used to predict a group’s likelihood of engaging in CRSV. However, this aspect of political education has not been extensively studied from a cross-national perspective because of the lack of comparable data on political education as a socialization practice among armed actors. To address this gap, the Socialization and Political Education in Rebel Groups (SOPERG) Data Project, which provides information on the efforts of political education within African rebel groups in intrastate conflicts (1989-2019), as included in the SVAC Dataset. This research note introduces new information on political education as a socialization practice, helping scholars reconsider and explore various conditions that lead to or prevent rebel violence before, during, and after civil wars. The study also highlights interesting variations in rebel behavior based on socialization patterns, and demonstrates the implications of these behaviors for CRSV. Ultimately, SOPERG data contribute to a better understanding of the internal processes of rebel groups and can predicting when CRSV is likely to occur.