Organized Violence after Civil War: The Geography of Recruitment in Latin America. Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics), 2016.

 ‘Sarah Zukerman Daly argues that organizational characteristics of armed groups in Colombia strongly affect whether they remilitarize after a peace agreement. Their extensive ties enable members of local groups to remilitarize, but members of non-local groups disperse and lose this capacity. Networks and geography are more important than access to weapons, which is almost universal. Daly’s extraordinary fieldwork with extremely violent former group members provides convincing quantitative and qualitative support for this important argument. Organized Violence after Civil War is an extraordinary work of political science.’
  • Robert O. Keohane – Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
‘This study provides a novel and thoughtful explanation of an important question for societies emerging from warfare – why do some groups silence their guns after agreeing to peace, while others remilitarize and return to violence? The argument highlights the role of the geography of recruitment – whether militant groups recruit and deploy fighters locally or from farther afield. The theory put forth is both parsimonious and subtle, and the empirical evidence adduced for it from the case of paramilitary groups in Colombia is extremely impressive. This book is certainly a must-read for any scholar of Colombia or any scholar of paramilitaries, but it will also find an important audience among scholars interested in the complicated dynamics of civil conflict and the behavior of non-state actors as they navigate the often stormy seas of postconflict transition.’
  • Virginia Page Fortna – Columbia University, New York
‘Organized Violence after Civil War explores why some – but not all – armed groups remilitarize after demobilization. Daly argues that the explanation lies in the geography of recruitment – whether the group recruited members from the locale where it was deployed – and in its strategic interaction with other groups after conflict’s end. She shows that her theory accounts for why about half of Colombia’s three dozen paramilitary groups remobilized, drawing on a wide range of data, from interviews with imprisoned leaders to surveys of demobilized combatants to unpublished government documents. This is an extraordinary achievement based on remarkable field research over several years.’
  • Elisabeth Jean Wood – Yale University, Connecticut
‘Civil wars have a strong tendency to recur, yet we know little about why. Drawing on a stunning array of data from extensive fieldwork in Colombia, Sarah Zukerman Daly shows that the geography of armed group recruitment explains why countries at peace slip back into violence. Groups that recruit locally remain cohesive after wars end whereas groups that recruit outside their own region wither away as their members depart. Regions comprised of locally based groups thus maintain a stable and peaceful balance of power, whereas regions where local groups neighbor non-local groups become unstable and prone to violence. Anyone seeking to understand the recurrence of violence after civil war should read this excellent book.’
  • Alexander B. Downes – George Washington University, Washington DC
Reviews of the Book in Scholarly Journals

Journal of Politics


Journal of Latin American Studies

Terrorism and Political Violence

Global Policy Journal


Peace Review

Foro Internacional

Comparative Politics (book mentioned)

Perspectives on Politics

Latin American Politics and Society

Politics, Religion and Ideology


Table of Contents



Wartime Ties and the Social Logic of Crime.” With Laura Paler and Cyrus Samii. Appendix. Forthcoming at Journal of Peace Research.

“Political Life After Civil Wars: Introducing the Civil War Successor Party Dataset.” Forthcoming at Journal of Peace Research.

2019. “Voting for Victors: Why Violent Actors Win Post-War Elections.” World Politics 71(4): 747-805. 

2018. “Determinants of Ex-Combatants’ Attitudes Toward Transitional Justice in Colombia.” Conflict Management and Peace Science 35(6): 656-673

2016. “Retrospective Causal Inference with Machine Learning Ensembles: An Application to Anti-Recidivism Policies in Colombia.” With Laura Paler and Cyrus Samii. Political Analysis.

2014. “The Dark Side of Power-Sharing: Middle Managers and Civil War Recurrence,” Comparative Politics 46(3). April.

2014. “State Strategies in Multiethnic Territories: Explaining Variation in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc,” British Journal of Political Science 44(02): 381-408.

2012. “Organizational Legacies of Violence: Conditions Favoring Insurgency in Colombia, 1964-1984,” Journal of Peace Research 49(3).
—Honorable Mention, ‘Nils Petter Gleditsch JPR Article of the Year Award, 2012.’

2011. “The Roots of Coercion and Insurgency: Exploiting the Counterfactual Case,” Conflict, Security & Development 11(2): 145-174.

Book Chapters

Forthcoming. “Determinants of State Strength and Capacity: Understanding Citizen Allegiance.” (with Juan Albarracín). In Challenges for Peace and Transitional Justice in Colombia, eds. James Meernik and Jacqueline DeMeritt. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Forthcoming. “Conducting Safe Fieldwork on Violence and Peace.” In Unorthodox Guide to Field Research, eds. Peter Krause and Ora Szekely. New York: Columbia University Press.

Forthcoming.  “Reintegration of Ex-Combatants” In Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice, eds. Lavinia Stan and Nadya Nedelsky. 2ndEdition. New York: Cambridge University Press.

2016. “The Logic and Consequences of State Strategies Toward Violent Non-State Actors.” In The Jackals of Westphalia? Non-State Challenges in a Re-Ordered World, eds. Stefano Ruzzo, Charles C. Geisler and Anja P. Jakobi. New York: Routledge.

2013. “Reintegration of Ex-Combatants” In Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice, eds. Lavinia Stan and Nadya Nedelsky. 1st Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press. Volume 1. pp. 79-84.

2010. “Anger, Violence, and Political Science” (with Roger Petersen) in International Handbook of Anger: Constituent and Concomitant Biological, Psychological, and Social Processes, eds. M. Potegal, G. Stemmler, and C. Spielberger. New York: Springer.

2010. “Revenge or Reconciliation: Theory and Method of Emotions in the Context of Colombia’s Peace Process.” (with Roger Petersen). In Morten Bergsmo and Pablo Kalmanovitz, eds., Law in Peace Negotiations, 2nd ed. Oslo, Norway: Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law, Peace Research Institute Oslo.

Other Publications

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, guerrillas shoot towards a position where colombian soldiers take cover in the mountains of Meta, Colombia, April 4, 2011. The group says that they are correcting past mistakes in terms of warfare, like communications systems and guerrilla tactics. In the past the guerrilla has suffered huge blows like the death of his top military commander, aka, Mono Jojoy because of the use of satelite phones and the internet at camps in the jungle.

2018. “FARC Rebels’ Political Party Performs Poorly in First Post-War Election,” Political Violence @ A Glance, March 22.

2017. “7,000 FARC Rebels are Demobilizing in Colombia. But Where do They Go Next?” Monkey Cage, The Washington Post, April 21.

2016. “How can Colombia Stop Former FARC Rebels from Turning to Crime?” (with Laura Paler and Cyrus Samii) Monkey Cage, The Washington Post, October 2.

2014. “Retorno a la Legalidad o Reincidencia de Excombatientes en Colombia: Dimensión del Fenómeno y Factores de Riesgo” (with Laura Paler and Cyrus Samii). Informes Fundación Ideas para la Paz 22. Bogotá. June.

Working Papers

“Enduring Electoral Support for Politicians with Violent Legacies”

“Turf War or Truces: Balance of Power, Information Asymmetries, and Bargaining Among Criminal Gangs”

“A Farewell to Arms? Electoral Outcomes and Lasting Peace After Civil War”

“Violent Electoral Politics: Alliances and Disputes Among Politicians and Militias”