Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology

Şule Yaylacı’s research focuses on political and social consequences of civil wars.

My dissertation, entitled “Political and Social Trust in the Face of Civil War,” addresses a gap in the literature on civil wars and political attitudes. I distinguish between ethnic territorial and ideological revolutionary civil wars and use mixed-methods to show the contrasting effects of these conflicts on political and social trust, especially for politically represented groups. I find that while ethnic violence boosts political trust, ideological violence dampens it (for the general public). Ethnic violence does not significantly affect generalized trust, whereas ideological violence diminishes it. These differences stem from the collective threat-framing of the conflict by state discourse: Ethnic territorial wars feature stronger collective threat-framing, as the threat refers to borders (which are integral to identity of the nation), while in ideological wars, collective threat framing is less likely as the threat is to the regime (which is often not so integral to the identity of a nation). My analysis rests on a pooled multilevel cross-national quantitative data and a comparative qualitative study of two cases, the Kurdish conflict in Turkey (1984–) and the Maoist conflict in Peru (1980–2000). My dissertation also shows that collective threat framing and the nature of the insurgency are embedded in the history of state-building, elucidating the impact of pre-war dynamics on the consequences of civil war on trust. As well as being the first qualitative study of trust in conflict settings, my work is also original in distinguishing between the effects of different types of civil wars on trust and in showing that the effects of the conflict vary along ethnic and political lines. In addition to the fields of political psychology and behaviour, my research contributes to conflict studies and public opinion literatures.

In addition, I have three ongoing articles that are an extension of my dissertation research: the first examines the divergent effects of domestic and international terrorism on political trust, the second looks at the effect of casualties on support for war using advanced statistical methods, and the third is testing the “contact hypothesis” (i.e., the effect of intergroup contact on support for intrastate war, so far untested).

Click here for Sule Yaylaci’s CV