This chapter serves as an accessible introduction to the issue, divided into five subsections. Section 1.1 describes the principal puzzle driving the research: why do some rural-based rebel groups prey on urban areas, while others do not? Section 1.2 summarizes the thesis: namely, that the structure of the transportation network and the social structure of the trade network jointly inform the outcome. Section 1.3 argues for the importance of this study, contending that understanding the rural–urban relationship will bolster our understanding of economic governance more generally—and the nature of disruptions currently upsetting the scalar consolidation of governance institutions in the early twenty-first century. Section 1.4 discusses the gap in scholarly literature this study fills. Section 1.5 describes the structure of the remaining chapters.
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