Ethnic Conflict

  • Created by: KDallers-
  • Created on: 15-05-19 17:09

Intro to Ethnic Conflict + The Nation

This is CONFLICT over the rights of ethnic groups INTRASTATE - demands include autonomy, control of the state, freedom from persecution etc.; rising since 1960s due to greater MIGRATION/REFUGEE MOVEMENTS 

- "a struggler where the main aim is to gain objectives and neutralise, injure or eliminate rivals" - Coser - caused by ethnic hatred/exclusionism; involves ethnic groups, nations and states

- THE NATION - Smith: "a named human community occupying a homeland"; Anderson sees states as "imagined communities" - HUMAN CREATIONS which are WORTH FIGHTING FOR - this notion is at the CENTRE of ETHNIC CONFLICT - a man-made process

- Brubaker - NATIONALISM - this is a 'category of practice', making nationalism an 'ideological movement' for Smith - it is how you express LOVE for the IMAGINED COMMUNITY; - GELLNER - 'a political principle'

- NATION-STATE - ethnic groups seek to control the STATE APPARATUS - when they do, the NATION and the STATE come together to form a NATION-STATE - this is the main form of human social organisation today

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Ethnic Group

"a named human community connected to a homeland" - Smith

- Harff and Gurr - '"psychological communities" that possess COMMON INTERESTS based on cultural traits and historical experience' - this makes ETHNIC GROUPS = IDENTITY GROUPS

- They do not need their own states (Kurds), and do not need to be violent (Swedes) - ethnic groups may face discrimination - such as Tamils in Sri Lankan universities, Kurds in Turkish politics

Ethnic groups have a CERTAIN RELATIONSHIP with the state - in terms of holding a BALANCE OF POWER

- When minorities lead MAJORITIES - this is troublesome for ethnic groups - for example, Tutsi-Hutu relationship in Rwanda, Burundi - caused genocide

- Which ethnic group has a right to territory - Abkhaz in Abkhazia? Palestinians in Israel - has led to war; often this question characterises ANTI-COLONIAL WARS - ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe

- Ethnic group + ideology may = war - response can be XENOPHOBIA, 'ETHNIC PURITY/CLEANSING' (Serbia), or granting of autonomy - have to respond quickly, or could lead to successful SUCESSIONISM - like Serbia/Yugoslavia or Eritrea/Ethiopia

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Types of Ethnic Group - Four Forms

ETHNONATIONALIST - this is a CONCENTRATED GROUP in ONE STATE seeking INDEPENDENCE - historic; Sudanese, Kurds, Tibetans - may be NONVIOLENT (Scots, Latvians), but often use violence to achieve succession + independence - Eritrea, Bangladesh, nearly Abkhazia, South Ossetia (ex-USSR) - need territory and leadership to succeed

INDIGENOUS - autonomy to regain the land they once dominated; reclaiming their way of life - Maori New Zealand, Native Americans, Aboriginal people in Australia - live in peripheral areas and have some territory to congregate - Indian reservations in USA; established the GLOBAL INDIGENOUS RIGHTS MOVEMENT to discuss indigenous issues and organise protests; has been moderately successful

ETHNOCLASS - minorities with specialised economic roles - can slave from slavery/immigration - Black British, German Turks; may be a HIGHER CLASS than natives - Lebanese in Africa; ethnoclasses are often DISPERSED and DIASPORIC, and want to improve the state to protect their culture

CONTENDERS - ethnic groups competing for political power - such as Sunnis in Lebanon - try to share power, but this leads to competition + conflict - Nigeria; can be managed - domestically (Mandela in SA) or internationally (Cold War Angola)

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Kaldor's 'New Wars'

MARY KALDOR - theory of 'new war' stemming from 'ethnic hatred' - also Shaw's 'degenerate warfare' and Hoffman's 'hybrid war' 

- NEW WAR - esentially organised political conflict where the state isn't central - linked to GLOBALISATION of soliders, media, weaponry and the role of international institutions; also described as POSTMODERN CONFLICT - it is an aggressive form of political violence involving ETHNIC HATRED, PRIVATISATION OF WARFARE and STATE REORGANISATION

- EXAMPLES - tends to occur in introverted, authoritarian, disconnected states which have been 'opened up' by liberal policies - places like Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo - demonstrates how regionalism and globalisation have IMPACTED TERRITORIAL SOVEREIGNTY

- About the issue of IDENTITY POLITICS - defending the TRADITIONAL GROUPS against state reorganisation due to globalisation, with an element of ethnic politics involved

KEY FEATURES: - MODE OF WARFARE (tends to be counter-insurgent vs guerilla, with new objective of political control - not about overrunning); - EXTREMISM (use of terrorism, torture, corruption, gang violence, ethnic cleansing - 'privatised' violence, not state-centred), - LOCAL (decentralised guerilla warfare in smaller areas), - ECONOMY (decentralised, underground, 'war' economy

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Reasons for Ethnic Conflict

- STRUCTURAL - situation gives minorities MORE REASON to oppose the regime - now more minorities, meaning more reasons to OPPOSE structural conditions and start conflict - Armenia/Azerbaijan - ex-Soviet, structural ethnic conditions

- ECONOMIC - based on deprivation in one ethnic group; this causes less economic activity, lower incomes, higher mortality rates and this leads to OPPOSITION and CONFLICT - caused by GREED and WEALTH DISPARITY - Collier + Hoffer

- POLITICAL - discrimination against an ETHNIC GROUP/MANIPULATION by elites causes rebellion - uprising of an ethnic group - things such as losing access to citizenship; Trump against Muslims travel ban - in a more structurally imbalanced state, this could cause conflict

- IDENTITY - may be due to 'ethnic hatred', repression of ethnic group - relates to Greece-Macedonia conflict and Huntington's Clash of Civilisations

- INTERNATIONAL LEVEL - 'superpowers' may have interests in a nation and use ethnic conflict as strategy - could be international organisations like UN, NATO; may involve non state actors

IRAQ - Hussain accused of WMDs, led to 'new war' due to structural issues of identities in Iraq - political, structural, international level explanations - ELITE/MASS? INTERNAL/EXTERNAL? - Brown

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Kaufman - Symbolic/Rationalist in Sudan

Argued for ALTERNATIVE REASONS FOR ETHNIC CONFLICT - argues that it could be caused by SECURITY DILEMMA/EXISTENTIAL THREAT - the "your group or ours" mentality - leads to TWO EXPLANATIONS of ethnic conflict - rational choice and symbolic politics

RATIONAL CHOICE: based around uncertainty and preemptive strikes agants a perceived existential threat

SYMBOLIC POLITICS: 'the enemy' exists as a myth, and ethnic group mobilise to eliminate the enemy - this is manipulated by elites and the media

SUDAN - an Arab North and Black South; there were ethnolinguistic barriers, the Nile Arabs as the elite and various other outsiders; South were fragmented between Dinka and Nuer

- 1976 - North led coup targeting the 'inferior South' = bred a new ETHNIC CONFLICT

RATIONALIST EXPLANATION: myths of the South as 'slaves' and religious beliefs of a superior, Islamic North - Sudan seen as an Arab nation, which the South was a THREAT against = conflict

SYMBOLIC EXPLANATION: suspicion driven by elites; President Nimieri - pro-Arab, launched guerilla war and ethnic conflict against the South - elite-created threat? 

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Key Thinkers for Ethnic Conflict

Coser - definition of ethnic conflict

Smith; Anderson; Brubaker; Gellner - views of the nation and nationalism

Harff and Gurr - views of ethnic group, and four types of ethnic group

Mary Kaldor; Shaw; Hoffmann - views of the 'new war' concept

Collier and Hoffer - economic causes of ethnic conflict

Huntington - Clash of Civilisations - identity causes of ethnic conflict

Kaufman - symbolic politics vs rational choice and Sudan

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