Understanding Political Violence offers crucial insights on processes damaging lives and polities in a variety of places across the globe: in Africa, in Latin America, in South East Asia and in the Middle East. By adopting a rich, evidence-based micro-level perspective, the authors provide critical answers to these questions: Who are the perpetrators of political violence? How do they get organized? The book pays particular attention to unconventional combatants such as women and children and details the drivers of their violent mobilization. It also makes considerable theoretical advances in understanding the diversity of forms of organized violence and analyzing its dynamics. The volume's approach is two-pronged: It first details carefully the wide array of factors pushing individuals to embrace political violence, then studies their interactions within armed groups, as leaders or rank and file.