Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Hilary Matfess

Second Advisor

Deborah Avant

Third Advisor

Oliver Kaplan

Fourth Advisor

Andrea Stanton


Civil war, Conflict, Legitimacy, Private military and security companies (PMSCs), Private contractors, Private military


The growth of non-state actors has significantly changed the nature of conflict. Rebel groups increasingly challenge state rule while private military and security companies (PMSCs) increasingly enter conflict spaces on behalf of a variety of actors, including states seeking to suppress insurgencies. This case study of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) during Sierra Leone’s civil war between 1991-2002 contributes to emerging work on rebel behavior by examining how rebel’s legitimacy-seeking behavior might evolve when PMSCs enter a conflict context. I explore the ways that PMSCs can shift perceived incentive structures surrounding insurgents’ interpretations of and engagements with legitimacy during conflict, thus fostering opportunities for shifts in rebel behavior. In Sierra Leone, the RUF engaged in public facing tactics drawn from normative and identity-based frameworks intended to de-legitimize EO and by extension, the state as a client, while also diversifying governance and increasingly relying on highly public displays of violence directed toward civilians and pro-government forces.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Anne Lauder


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


65 pgs

File Size

391 KB


Sub Saharan Africa studies