Group identities, such as ethnicity or religion, are often thought to deeply influence political attitudes and behaviors. Yet, dominant constructivist theories of identity in political science highlight that the content and consistency of these identities across individuals are not fixed, and depend on wider historical and social processes.
In my book project, I look at how violence during civil war alters both how individuals choose to identify from possibly multiple group identities, as well as the importance they ascribe to group membership. I also show how these changes at the individual level aggregate to societal cleavages, the political divisions that make up the main axes of political competition.
I use quantitative and qualitative evidence from Iraq, Bosnia, and Liberia to show how these processes vary across conflicts and across time. Using cross-national comparisons, I show common processes across different conflicts. By comparing at the sub-national level, I can show why the political and social legacies differ within the same conflict.