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An ethnic conflict is a conflict between two or more contending
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
s. While the source of the conflict may be
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

political
, social, economic or religious, the individuals in conflict must expressly fight for their ethnic group's position within society. This final criterion differentiates ethnic conflict from other forms of struggle. Academic explanations of ethnic conflict generally fall into one of three schools of thought: primordialist,
instrumentalist A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person w ...
or constructivist. Recently, several political scientists have argued for either top-down or bottom-up explanations for ethnic conflict. Intellectual debate has also focused on whether ethnic conflict has become more prevalent since the end of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
, and on devising ways of managing conflicts, through instruments such as
consociationalism Consociationalism ( ) is a form of democratic power sharing Consociationalism ( ) is a form of power sharing in a democracy. Political science, Political scientists define a consociational State (polity), state as one which has major internal ...
and federalisation.


Theories of causes

It is argued that rebel movements are more likely to organize around ethnicity because ethnic groups are more apt to be aggrieved, better able to mobilize, and more likely to face difficult bargaining challenges compared to other groups. The causes of ethnic conflict are debated by
political scientists This is a list of notable political scientists. See the list of political theorists for those who study political theory. See also political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with s ...
and
sociologists This is a list of sociologists. It is intended to cover those who have made substantive contributions to social theory and research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It i ...
. Explanations generally fall into one of three schools of thought: primordialist, instrumentalist, and constructivist. More recent scholarship draws on all three schools.


Primordialist accounts

Proponents of primordialist accounts argue that " hnic groups and nationalities exist because there are traditions of belief and action towards primordial objects such as biological features and especially territorial location". Primordialist accounts rely on strong ties of
kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist Robin Fox states th ...

kinship
among members of ethnic groups. Donald L. Horowitz argues that this kinship "makes it possible for ethnic groups to think in terms of family resemblances".
Clifford Geertz Clifford James Geertz (; August 23, 1926 – October 30, 2006) was an American anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, s ...
, a founding scholar of primordialism, asserts that each person has a natural connection to perceived kinsmen. In time and through repeated conflict, essential ties to one's ethnicity will coalesce and will interfere with ties to civil society. Ethnic groups will consequently always threaten the survival of civil governments but not the existence of nations formed by one ethnic group. Thus, when considered through a primordial lens, ethnic conflict in multi-ethnic society is inevitable. A number of political scientists argue that the root causes of ethnic conflict do not involve ethnicity ''per se'' but rather institutional, political, and economic factors. These scholars argue that the concept of ethnic war is misleading because it leads to an
essentialist Essentialism is the view that every entity has a set of attributes that are necessary to its identity and function. In early Western thought, Plato's idealism held that all things have such an "essence"—an "idea" or "form". In Categories (A ...
conclusion that certain groups are doomed to fight each other when in fact the wars between them that occur are often the result of political decisions. Moreover, primordial accounts do not account for the spatial and temporal variations in ethnic violence. If these "ancient hatreds" are always simmering under the surface and are at the forefront of people's consciousness, then ethnic groups should constantly be ensnared in violence. However, ethnic violence occurs in sporadic outbursts. For example, Varshney points out that although Yugoslavia broke up due to ethnic violence in the 1990s, it had enjoyed a long peace of decades before the USSR collapsed. Therefore, some scholars claim that it is unlikely that primordial ethnic differences alone caused the outbreak of violence in the 1990s. Primordialists have reformulated the "ancient hatreds" hypothesis and have focused more on the role of human nature. Petersen argues that the existence of hatred and animosity does not have to be rooted in history for it to play a role in shaping human behavior and action: "If "ancient hatred" means a hatred consuming the daily thoughts of great masses of people, then the "ancient hatreds" argument deserves to be readily dismissed. However, if hatred is conceived as a historically formed "schema" that guides action in some situations, then the conception should be taken more seriously."


Instrumentalist accounts

Anthony Smith notes that the instrumentalist account "came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States, in the debate about (white) ethnic persistence in what was supposed to have been an effective melting pot". This new theory sought explained persistence as the result of the actions of community leaders, "who used their cultural groups as sites of mass mobilization and as constituencies in their competition for power and resources, because they found them more effective than social classes". In this account of ethnic identification, ethnicity and race are viewed as instrumental means to achieve particular ends. Whether
ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ancest ...
is a fixed perception or not is not crucial in the instrumentalist accounts. Moreover, the scholars of this school generally do not oppose the view that ethnic difference plays a part in many conflicts. They simply claim that ethnic difference is not sufficient to explain conflicts. Mass mobilization of ethnic groups can only be successful if there are latent ethnic differences to be exploited, otherwise politicians would not even attempt to make political appeals based on ethnicity and would focus instead on economic or ideological appeals. For these reasons, it is difficult to completely discount the role of inherent ethnic differences. Additionally, ethnic entrepreneurs, or elites, could be tempted to mobilize ethnic groups in order to gain their political support in democratizing states. Instrumentalists theorists especially emphasize this interpretation in ethnic states in which one ethnic group is promoted at the expense of other ethnicities. Furthermore, ethnic mass mobilization is likely to be plagued by collective action problems, especially if ethnic protests are likely to lead to violence. Instrumentalist scholars have tried to respond to these shortcomings. For example, Russell Hardin argues that ethnic mobilization faces problems of coordination and not collective action. He points out that a charismatic leader acts as a focal point around which members of an ethnic group coalesce. The existence of such an actor helps to clarify beliefs about the behavior of others within an ethnic group.


Constructivist accounts

A third, constructivist, set of accounts stress the importance of the socially constructed nature of ethnic groups, drawing on
Benedict Anderson Benedict Richard O'Gorman Anderson (August 26, 1936 – December 13, 2015) was a Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List ...
's concept of the
imagined community An imagined community is a concept developed by Benedict Anderson Benedict Richard O'Gorman Anderson (August 26, 1936 – December 13, 2015) was a China, Chinese-born Anglo-Irish political science, political scientist and historian who lived an ...
. Proponents of this account point to
Rwanda Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley, where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, ...

Rwanda
as an example because the
Tutsi The Tutsi (; ), or Abatutsi, are an ethnic group of the African Great Lakes The African Great Lakes ( sw, Maziwa Makuu) are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in and around the East African Rift. They include Lake ...
/
Hutu The Hutu (), also known as the Abahutu, are a Bantu Bantu may refer to: *Bantu languages, constitute the largest sub-branch of the Niger–Congo languages *Bantu peoples, over 400 peoples of Africa speaking a Bantu language *Afro-textured ha ...

Hutu
distinction was codified by the in the 1930s on the basis of cattle ownership, physical measurements and church records. Identity cards were issued on this basis, and these documents played a key role in the
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish t ...
of 1994. Some argue that constructivist narratives of historical master cleavages are unable to account for local and regional variations in ethnic violence. For example, Varshney highlights that in the 1960s "racial violence in the USA was heavily concentrated in northern cities; southern cities though intensely politically engaged, did not have riots". A constructivist master narrative is often a country level variable whereas we often have to study incidences of ethnic violence at the regional and local level. Scholars of ethnic conflict and
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
s have introduced theories that draw insights from all three traditional schools of thought. In ''The Geography of Ethnic Violence'', Monica Duffy Toft shows how ethnic group settlement patterns, socially constructed identities, charismatic leaders, issue indivisibility, and state concern with precedent setting can lead rational actors to escalate a dispute to violence, even when doing so is likely to leave contending groups much worse off. Such research addresses empirical puzzles that are difficult to explain using primordialist, instrumentalist, or constructivist approaches alone. As Varshney notes, "pure essentialists and pure instrumentalists do not exist anymore".


Study in the post-Cold War world

The end of the Cold War thus sparked interest in two important questions about ethnic conflict: whether ethnic conflict was on the rise and whether given that some ethnic conflicts had escalated into serious violence, what, if anything, could scholars of large-scale violence (security studies, strategic studies, interstate politics) offer by way of explanation. One of the most debated issues relating to ethnic conflict is whether it has become more or less prevalent in the post–Cold War period. Even though a decline in the rate of new ethnic conflicts was evident in the late 1990s, ethnic conflict remains the most common form of armed intrastate conflict today. At the end of the Cold War, academics including
Samuel P. Huntington Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927 – December 24, 2008) was an American political scientist, adviser and academic. He spent more than half a century at Harvard University Harvard University is a Private university, private Ivy ...
and predicted a proliferation of conflicts fueled by civilisational clashes,
Tribalism Tribalism is the state of being organized by, or advocating for, tribes or tribal lifestyles. Human evolution has primarily occurred in small groups, as opposed to people's cooperation in society as a whole. With a negative connotation and in a ...
,
resource Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which help us to satisfy our needs and wants. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified into renewable File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global ...
scarcity Scarcity as an economic concept "refers to the basic fact of life that there exists only a finite amount of human and nonhuman resources which the best technical knowledge is capable of using to produce only limited maximum amounts of each econo ...
and
overpopulation Overpopulation or overabundance occurs when a species' population In biology, a population is a number of all the organisms of the same group or species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classifica ...
. The violent ethnic conflicts in Nigeria,
Mali Mali (; ), officially the Republic of Mali (french: République du Mali; bm, ߡߊߟߌ ߞߊ ߝߊߛߏߖߊߡߊߣߊ, Mali ka Fasojamana, ff, 𞤈𞤫𞤲𞥆𞤣𞤢𞥄𞤲𞤣𞤭 𞤃𞤢𞥄𞤤𞤭, Renndaandi Maali, ar, جمهورية م ...
,
Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It borders the countries of Central African Republ ...
and other countries in the Sahel region have been exacerbated by droughts, food shortages,
land degradation Land degradation is a process in which the value of the biophysical environment A biophysical environment is a life, biotic and Abiotic component, abiotic surrounding of an organism or population, and consequently includes the factors that ...
, and population growth. However, some theorists contend that this does not represent a rise in the incidence of ethnic conflict, because many of the
proxy wars A proxy war is an armed conflict between two states or non-state actorNon-state actors include organizations and individuals that are not affiliated with, directed by, or funded through the government. The interests, structure, and influence o ...
fought during the Cold War as ethnic conflicts were actually hot spots of the Cold War. Research shows that the fall of
Communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

Communism
and the increase in the number of capitalist states were accompanied by a decline in total warfare, interstate wars,
ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously a ...

ethnic
wars,
revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term ''revolutionary'' refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor. D ...
wars, and the number of
refugees A refugee, generally speaking, is a forced displacement, displaced person who has crossed national boundaries and who cannot or is unwilling to return home due to well-founded fear of persecution.
refugees
and
displaced person Forced displacement (also forced migration) is an involuntary or coerced movement of a person or people away from their home or home region. The UNHCR The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a UN agency mandated to ai ...
s. Indeed, some scholars have questioned whether the concept of ethnic conflict is useful at all. Others have attempted to test the "clash of civilisations" thesis, finding it to be difficult to operationalise and that civilisational conflicts have not risen in intensity in relation to other ethnic conflicts since the end of the Cold War. A key question facing scholars who attempt to adapt their theories of interstate violence to explain or predict large-scale ethnic violence is whether ethnic groups could be considered "rational" actors. Prior to the end of the Cold War, the consensus among students of large-scale violence was that ethnic groups should be considered irrational actors, or semi-rational at best. If true, general explanations of ethnic violence would be impossible. In the years since, however, scholarly consensus has shifted to consider that ethnic groups may in fact be counted as rational actors, and the puzzle of their apparently irrational actions (for example, fighting over territory of little or no intrinsic worth) must therefore be explained in some other way. As a result, the possibility of a general explanation of ethnic violence has grown, and collaboration between comparativist and international-relations sub-fields has resulted in increasingly useful theories of ethnic conflict.


Public goods provision

A major source of ethnic conflict in multi-ethnic democracies is over the access to state patronage. Conflicts over state resources between ethnic groups can increase the likelihood of ethnic violence. In ethnically divided societies, demand for public goods decreases as each ethnic group derives more utility from benefits targeted at their ethnic group in particular. These benefits would be less valued if all other ethnic groups had access to them. Targeted benefits are more appealing because ethnic groups can solidify or heighten their social and economic status relative to other ethnic groups whereas broad programmatic policies will not improve their relative worth. Politicians and political parties in turn, have an incentive to favor co-ethnics in their distribution of material benefits. Over the long run, ethnic conflict over access to state benefits is likely to lead to the ethnification of political parties and the party system as a whole where the political salience of ethnic identity increase leading to a self-fulfilling equilibrium: If politicians only distribute benefits on an ethnic basis, voters will see themselves primarily belonging to an ethnic group and view politicians the same way. They will only vote for the politician belonging to the same ethnic group. In turn, politicians will refrain from providing public goods because it will not serve them well electorally to provide services to people not belonging to their ethnic group. In democratizing societies, this could lead to ethnic outbidding and lead to extreme politicians pushing out moderate co-ethnics. Patronage politics and ethnic politics eventually reinforce each other, leading to what Chandra terms a "patronage democracy". The existence of patronage networks between local politicians and ethnic groups make it easier for politicians to mobilize ethnic groups and instigate ethnic violence for electoral gain since the neighborhood or city is already polarized along ethnic lines. The dependence of ethnic groups on their co-ethnic local politician for access to state resources is likely to make them more responsive to calls of violence against other ethnic groups. Therefore, the existence of these local patronage channels generates incentives for ethnic groups to engage in politically motivated violence. While the link between ethnic heterogeneity and under provision of public goods is generally accepted, there is little consensus around the causal mechanism underlying this relationship. To identify possible causal stories, Humphreys and Habyarimana ran a series of behavioral games in Kampala, Uganda, that involved several local participants completing joint tasks and allocating money amongst them. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, they find that participants did not favor the welfare of their co-ethnics disproportionately. It was only when anonymity was removed and everyone's ethnicity was known did co-ethnics decide to favor each other. Humphreys and Habyarimana argue that cooperation among co-ethnics is primarily driven by reciprocity norms that tend to be stronger among co-ethnics. The possibility of social sanctions compelled those who would not otherwise cooperate with their co-ethnics to do so. The authors find no evidence to suggest that co-ethnics display a greater degree of altruism towards each other or have the same preferences. Ethnic cooperation takes place because co-ethnics have common social networks and therefore can monitor each other and can threaten to socially sanction any transgressors.


Ethnic conflict amplification


Online social media

In the early twenty-first century, the online
social networking service A social networking service or SNS (sometimes called a social networking site) is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relation In social science, a social relation or social interaction is any relationship ...
Facebook Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...

Facebook
has played a role in amplifying ethnic violence in the
Rohingya genocide The Rohingya genocide is a series of ongoing persecutions by the Myanmar military of the Muslim Rohingya people The Rohingya people () are a stateless nation, stateless Indo-Aryan peoples, Indo-Aryan ethnic group who predominantly follow ...
that started in October 2016 and in ethnic violence in Ethiopia during 2019–2020. The
United Nations Human Rights Council The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), CDH is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign st ...
described Facebook as having been "a useful instrument for those seeking to spread hate" and complained that Facebook was unable to provide data on the extent of its role in the genocide. An interesting case is the ethnic panic in India's major cities in August 2012 that led thousands of migrant workers to flee back home after threatening Facebook posts that India blamed on Pakistan. Aside from the recriminations between the troubled neighbors, analysts debated whether random posts uploaded to Facebook in one country can cause ethnic tensions involving thousands of people in a neighboring country. Regardless of the answer, the incident caught the attention of many critics of online social media. During 2019–2020, posts on
Facebook Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service owned by Meta Platforms. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, an ...

Facebook
dominated the Internet in Ethiopia and played a major role in encouraging ethnic violence. An October 2019 Facebook post led to the deaths of 70 people in Ethiopia. In mid-2020, ethnic tensions in Ethiopia were amplified by
online hate speech Online hate speech is a type of speech that takes place online with the purpose of attacking a person or a group based on their race (human categorization), race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender. Online hate spe ...
on Facebook that followed the 29 June assassination of
Hachalu Hundessa Hachalu Hundessa ( om, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa Boonsaa; am, ሃጫሉ ሁንዴሳ; 1986 – 29 June 2020) was an Ethiopian singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist. Hundessa played a significant role in the 2016 Oromo protests that led to A ...
. The
Hachalu Hundessa riots The Hachalu Hundessa riots were a series of civil disorder, civil unrest that occurred in the Oromia Region in Ethiopia, more specifically in the hot spot of Addis Ababa, Shashemene and Jimma, following the killing of the Oromo musician Hachalu H ...
, in which mobs "lynched, beheaded, and dismembered their victims", took place with "almost-instant and widespread sharing of hate speech and incitement to violence on Facebook, which whipped up people's anger", according to David Gilbert writing in ''
Vice A vice is a practice, behaviour, or habit A habit (or wont as a humorous and formal term) is a routine of behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see ...
''. People "callfor genocide and attacks against specific religious or ethnic groups" and "openly postphotographs of burned-out cars, buildings, schools and houses", according to ''Network Against Hate Speech'', an Ethiopian citizens' group. Berhan Taye of
Access Now Access Now is a Non-profit organization, non-profit founded in 2009 that defends and extends the digital rights of people around the world. As of 2020, Access Now has legal entities in Belgium, Costa Rica, Tunisia, and the United States, wit ...
stated that in Ethiopia, offline violence quickly leads to online "calls for ethnic attacks, discrimination, and destruction of property
hat A collection of 18th and 19th century men's beaver felt hats A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safet ...

hat
goes viral". He stated, "Facebook's inaction helps propagate hate and polarization in a country and has a devastating impact on the narrative and extent of the violence."


Ethnic conflict resolution


Institutional ethnic conflict resolution

A number of scholars have attempted to synthesize the methods available for the
resolution Resolution(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Resolution (debate), the statement which is debated in policy debate * Resolution (law), a written motion adopted by a deliberative body * New Year's resolution, a commitment that an individual make ...

resolution
,
management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spok ...
or
transformation Transformation may refer to: Science and mathematics In biology and medicine * Metamorphosis, the biological process of changing physical form after birth or hatching * Malignant transformation, the process of cells becoming cancerous * Transf ...
of their ethnic conflict. , for example, has developed a
typology Typology is the study of types or the systematic classification of the types of something according to their common characteristics. Typology is the act of finding, counting and classification facts with the help of eyes, other senses and logic. Typ ...
of the methods of conflict resolution that have been employed by states, which he lists as:
indigenization Indigenization is the act of making something more native; transformation of some service, idea, etc. to suit a local culture, especially through the use of more indigenous people in administration Administration may refer to: Management of org ...
, accommodation, assimilation,
acculturation Acculturation is a process of social, psychological, and cultural change Culture change is a term used in public policy making that emphasizes the influence of cultural capital on individual and community behavior. It has been sometimes called re ...
,
population transfer Population transfer or resettlement is the movement of a large group of people from one region to another, often a form of forced migration imposed by state policy or international authority and most frequently on the basis of ethnicity or reli ...
, boundary alteration,
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish t ...
and ethnic suicide.
John McGarry John McGarry, OC (born 1957) is a political scientist from Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ') is #Descriptions, variously described as a country, province, or region which ...
and
Brendan O'Leary Brendan O'Leary (born 19 March 1958) is an Irish political scientist, who is Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) is a Private university, private Ivy League ...

Brendan O'Leary
have developed a taxonomy of eight macro-political ethnic conflict regulation methods, which they note are often employed by states in combination with each other. They include a number of methods that they note are clearly morally unacceptable. With increasing interest in the field of ethnic conflict, many policy analysts and political scientists theorized potential resolutions and tracked the results of institutional policy implementation. As such, theories often focus on which
Institutions Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior." Institutions can refer to social mechanism, mechanisms which govern the behavior of a set of individuals within a given community, and are id ...

Institutions
are the most appropriate for addressing ethnic conflict.


Consociationalism

Consociationalism is a
power sharing Consociationalism ( ) is a form of power sharing in a democracy. Political science, Political scientists define a consociational State (polity), state as one which has major internal divisions along ethnic, religious, or linguistic lines, with non ...
agreement which coopts the leaders of ethnic groups into the central state's government. Each nation or ethnic group is represented in the government through a supposed spokesman for the group. In the power sharing agreement, each group has veto powers to varying degrees, dependent on the particular state. Moreover, the norm of proportional representation is dominant: each group is represented in the government in a percentage that reflects the ethnicity's demographic presence in the state. Another requirement for
Arend Lijphart Arend d'Angremond Lijphart (born 17 August 1936, Apeldoorn, Netherlands) is a political scientist specializing in comparative politics, elections and voting systems, Democracy, democratic institutions, and ethnicity and politics. He received his ...
is that the government must be composed of a "grand coalition" of the ethnic group leaders which supposes a top-down approach to conflict resolution. In theory, this leads to self governance and protection for the ethnic group. Many scholars maintain that since ethnic tension erupts into ethnic violence when the ethnic group is threatened by a state, then veto powers should allow the ethnic group to avoid legislative threats. Switzerland is often characterized as a successful consociationalist state. A recent example of a consociational government is the post-conflict
Bosnian government The Politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina takes place in a framework of a parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic governance Governance comprises all of the processes of governing – whethe ...

Bosnian government
that was agreed upon in the
Dayton Accords The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as the Dayton Agreement or the Dayton Accords ( hr, Daytonski sporazum, Serbian language, Serbian and Bosnian language, Bosnian: / ), is the peace agreement reached ...
in 1995. A tripartite presidency was chosen and must have a Croat, a Serb, and a Bosniak. The presidents take turns acting as the forefront executive in terms of 8 months for 4 years. Many have credited this compromise of a consociational government in Bosnia for the end of the violence and the following long-lasting peace. In contrast to Lijphart, several political scientists and policy analysts have condemned consociationalism. One of the many critiques is that consociationalism locks in ethnic tensions and identities. This assumes a primordial stance that ethnic identities are permanent and not subject to change. Furthermore, this does not allow for any "others" that might want to partake in the political process. As of 2012 a Jewish Bosnian is suing the Bosnian government from precluding him from running for presidential office since only a Croat, Serb, or Bosniak can run under the consociational government. Determining ethnic identities in advance and implementing a power sharing system on the basis of these fixed identities is inherently discriminatory against minority groups that might be not be recognized. Moreover, it discriminates against those who do not choose to define their identity on an ethnic or communal basis. In power sharing-systems that are based on pre-determined identities, there is a tendency to rigidly fix shares of representation on a permanent basis which will not reflect changing demographics over time. The categorization of individuals in particular ethnic groups might be controversial anyway and might in fact fuel ethnic tensions. The inherent weaknesses in using pre-determined ethnic identities to form power sharing systems has led Ljiphart to argue that adopting a constructivist approach to consociationalism can increase its likelihood of success. The self-determination of ethnic identities is more likely to be "non-discriminatory, neutral, flexible and self-adjusting". For example, in South Africa, the toxic legacy of apartheid meant that successful consociation could only be built on the basis of the self-determination of groups. Ljiphart claims that because ethnic identities are often "unclear, fluid and flexible," self-determination is likely to be more successful than pre-determination of ethnic groups. A constructivist approach to consociational theory can therefore strengthen its value as a method to resolve ethnic conflict. Another critique points to the privileging of ethnic identity over personal political choice. Howard has deemed consociationalism as a form of ethnocracy and not a path to true pluralistic democracy. Consociationalism assumes that a politician will best represent the will of his co-ethnics above other political parties. This might lead to the polarization of ethnic groups and the loss of non-ethnic ideological parties. Horowitz has argued that a single transferable vote system could prevent the ethnification of political parties because voters cast their ballots in order of preference. This means that a voter could cast some of his votes to parties other than his co-ethnic party. This in turn would compel political parties to broaden their manifestos to appeal to voters across the ethnic divide to hoover up second and third preference votes.


Federalism

The theory of implementing federalism in order to curtail ethnic conflict assumes that self-governance reduces "demands for sovereignty". Hechter argues that some goods such as language of education and bureaucracy must be provided as local goods, instead of statewide, in order to satisfy more people and ethnic groups. Some political scientists such as Stroschein contend that ethnofederalism, or federalism determined along ethnic lines, is "asymmetric" as opposed to the equal devolution of power found in non-ethnic federal states, such as the United States. In this sense, special privileges are granted to specific minority groups as concessions and incentives to end violence or mute conflict. The
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
divided its structure into ethnic federal states termed
Union Republics The Republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the Union Republics ( rus, Сою́зные Респу́блики, r=Soyúznye Respúbliki) were ethnically based administrative units of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ...
. Each Union Republic was named after a titular ethnic group who inhabited the area as a way to Sovietize nationalist sentiments during the 1920s. Brubaker asserts that these titular republics were formed in order to absorb any potential elite led nationalist movements against the Soviet center by incentivizing elite loyalty through advancement in the Soviet political structure. Thus, federalism provides some self-governance for local matters in order to satisfy some of the grievances which might cause ethnic conflict among the masses. Moreover, federalism brings in the elites and ethnic entrepreneurs into the central power structure; this prevents a resurgence of top-down ethnic conflict. Nevertheless, after the fall of the
USSR The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state that spanned Eurasia during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a Federation, federal union of multiple national Republics of ...
many critiques of federalism as an institution to resolve ethnic conflict emerged. The devolution of power away from the central state can weaken ties to the central state. Moreover, the parallel institutions created to serve a particular nation or ethnic group might provide significant resources for
Secession Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, ...

Secession
from the central state. As most states are unwilling to give up an integral portion of their territory, secessionist movements may trigger violence. Furthermore, some competing elite political players may not be in power; they would remain unincorporated into the central system. These competing elites can gain access through federal structures and their resources to solidify their political power in the structure. According to V.P. Gagnon this was the case in the former
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...
and its disintegration into its ethnic federal states. Ethnic entrepreneurs were able to take control of the institutionally allocated resources to wage war on other ethnic groups.


Non-territorial autonomy

A recent theory of ethnic tension resolution is non-territorial autonomy or NTA. NTA has emerged in recent years as an alternative solution to ethnic tensions and grievances in places that are likely to breed conflict. For this reason, NTA has been promoted as a more practical and state building solution than consociationalism. NTA, alternatively known as non-cultural autonomy (NCA), is based on the difference of ''
jus soli ''Jus soli'' ( , , ; meaning "right of soil"), commonly referred to as birthright citizenship, is the right of anyone born in the territory of a state to nationality or citizenship. ''Jus soli'' was part of the English common law, in contrast ...
s'' and ''
jus sanguinis ( , , ; 'right of blood') is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship is determined or acquired by the nationality or ethnicity of one or both parents. Children at birth may be citizens of a particular state if either or both of th ...
,'' the principles of territory versus that of personhood. It gives rights to ethnic groups to self-rule and govern matters potentially concerning but limited to: education, language, culture, internal affairs, religion, and the internally established institutions needed to promote and reproduce these facets. In contrast to federalism, the ethnic groups are not assigned a titular sub-state, but rather the ethnic groups are dispersed throughout the state unit. Their group rights and autonomy are not constrained to a particular territory within the state. This is done in order not to weaken the center state such as in the case of ethnofederalism. The origin of NTA can be traced back to the Marxists works of
Otto Bauer Otto Bauer (5 September 1881 – 4 July 1938) was an Austrian Social Democratic Party of Austria, Social Democrat who is considered one of the leading thinkers of the left-socialist Austro-Marxism, Austro-Marxist grouping. He was also an early ins ...
and
Karl Renner Karl Renner (14 December 1870 – 31 December 1950) was an Austrian politician of the Social Democratic Party of Austria, Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria. He is often referred to as the "Father of the Republic" because he led the first ...
. NTA was employed during the interwar period, and the League of Nations sought to add protection clauses for national minorities in new states. In the 1920s,
Estonia Estonia ( et, Eesti ), officially the Republic of Estonia ( et, Eesti Vabariik, links=no), is a country in northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland across from Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea across from Sweden ...

Estonia
granted some cultural autonomy to the German and Jewish populations in order to ease conflicts between the groups and the newly independent state. In Europe, most notably in
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
, NTA laws have been enacted and created parallel institutions and political parties in the same country. In Belgium, NTA has been integrated within the federal consociational system. Some scholars of ethnic conflict resolution claim that the practice of NTA will be employed dependent on the concentration and size of the ethnic group asking for group rights. Other scholars, such as Clarke, argue that the successful implementation of NTA rests on the acknowledgement in a state of "universal" principles: true
Rule of Law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

Rule of Law
, established
human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
, stated guarantees to minorities and their members to use their own quotidien language, religion, and food practices, and a framework of anti-discrimination legislation in order to enforce these rights. Moreover, no individual can be forced to adhere, identify, or emphasize a particular identity (such as race, gender, sexuality, etc.) without their consent in order for NTA to function for its purpose. Nonetheless, Clarke critiques the weaknesses of NTA in areas such as education, a balance between society wide norms and intracommunity values; policing, for criminal matters and public safety; and political representation, which limits the political choices of an individual if based solely on ethnicity. Furthermore, the challenge in evaluating the efficacy of NTA lies in the relatively few legal implementations of NTA.


Cultural rights

Emphasizing the limits of approaches that focus mainly on institutional answers to ethnic conflicts—which are essentially driven by ethnocultural dynamics of which political and/or economic factors are but elements—Gregory Paul Meyjes urges the use of intercultural communication and cultural-rights based negotiations as tools with which to effectively and sustainably address inter-ethnic strife. Meyjes argues that to fully grasp, preempt, and/or resolve such conflicts—whether with or without the aid of territorial or non-territorial institutional mechanism(s) -- a
cultural rights The cultural rights movement has provoked attention to protect the rights of groups of people, or their culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, a ...
approach grounded in intercultural knowledge and skill is essential.Meyjes (also: Posthumus Meyjes), Gregory Paul (2007) 'Plan "C" is for Culture: out of Iraq – Opportunity,' Landpower Essay 07-4, May 2007, Arlington, VA: Association of the United States Army.


Ethnic conflict resolution outside formal institutions


Informal inter-ethnic engagement

Institutionalist arguments for resolving ethnic conflict often focus on national-level institutions and do not account for regional and local variation in ethnic violence within a country. Despite similar levels of ethnic diversity in a country, some towns and cities have often found to be especially prone to ethnic violence. For example, Ashutosh Varshney, in his study of ethnic violence in
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
, argues that strong inter-ethnic engagement in villages often disincentivizes politicians from stoking ethnic violence for electoral gain. Informal interactions include joint participation in festivals, families from different communities eating together or allowing their children to play with one another. Every day engagement between ethnic groups at the village level can help to sustain the peace in the face of national level shocks like an ethnic riot in another part of the country. In times of ethnic tension, these communities can quell rumors, police neighborhoods and come together to resist any attempts by politicians to polarize the community. The stronger the inter-ethnic networks are, the harder it is for politicians to polarize the community even if it may be in their political interest to do so.


Formal inter-ethnic associations

However, in cities, where the population tends to be much higher, informal interactions between ethnic groups might not be sufficient to prevent violence. This is because many more links are needed to connect everyone, and therefore it is much more difficult to form and strengthen inter-ethnic ties. In cities, formal inter-ethnic associations like trade unions, business associations and professional organizations are more effective in encouraging inter-ethnic interactions that could prevent ethnic violence in the future. These organizations force ethnic groups to come together based on shared economic interests that overcomes any pre-existing ethnic differences. For example, inter-ethnic business organizations serve to connect the business interests of different ethnic groups which would increase their desire to maintain ethnic harmony. Any ethnic tension or outbreak of violence will go against their economic interests and therefore, over time, the salience of ethnic identity diminishes. Interactions between ethnic groups in formal settings can also help countries torn apart by ethnic violence to recover and break down ethnic divisions. Paula Pickering, a political scientist, who studies peace-building efforts in Bosnia, finds that formal workplaces are often the site where inter-ethnic ties are formed. She claims that mixed workplaces lead to repeated inter-ethnic interaction where norms of professionalism compel everyone to cooperate and to treat each other with respect, making it easier for individuals belonging to the minority group to reach out and form relationships with everyone else. Nevertheless, Giuliano's research in Russia has shown that economic grievances, even in a mixed workplace, can be politicized on ethnic lines.


Examples of ethnic conflicts

*
Maluku sectarian conflict The Maluku Islands sectarian conflict was a period of ethno-political conflict along religious lines, which spanned the Indonesian islands that compose the Maluku archipelago, with particularly serious disturbances in Ambon and Halmahera Halmah ...
*
Yugoslav Wars The Yugoslav Wars were a series of separate but related Naimark (2003), p. xvii. ethnic conflict A refugee camp for displaced Rwandans in Zaire following the Rwandan genocide of 1994 An ethnic conflict is a conflict between two or more con ...
*
The Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trioblóidí) were an ethno-nationalist Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation A na ...
*
Insurgency in the North Caucasus The insurgency in the North Caucasus (russian: Борьба с терроризмом на Северном Кавказе) was a low-level War, armed conflict between Russia and militants associated with the Caucasus Emirate and, from June 2 ...
*
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ethnic conflict, ethnic and Territorial dispute, territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians, and Armenian-occupied t ...

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
*
Armenian genocide The Armenian Genocide (Terminology of the Armenian Genocide, other names) was the systematic mass murder and ethnic cleansing of around 1 million ethnic Armenians from Asia Minor and adjoining regions by the Ottoman Empire and its ruling ...

Armenian genocide
*
Rwandan genocide The Rwandan genocide occurred between 7 April and 15 July 1994 during the . During this period of around 100 days, members of the minority ethnic group, as well as some moderate and , were slaughtered by armed militias. The most widely acce ...
*
Rohingya genocide The Rohingya genocide is a series of ongoing persecutions by the Myanmar military of the Muslim Rohingya people The Rohingya people () are a stateless nation, stateless Indo-Aryan peoples, Indo-Aryan ethnic group who predominantly follow ...
* Communal conflicts in Nigeria *
Sudanese nomadic conflicts Sudanese nomadic conflicts are non-state conflicts between rival nomadic tribes taking place in the territory of Sudan and, since 2011, South Sudan. Conflict between nomadic tribes in Sudan is common, with fights breaking out over scarce resources ...
* Oromo–Somali clashes * Tuareg rebellions (multiple) *
Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present) The Kurdish–Turkish conflict is an armed conflict between the Republic of Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkan ...
* Central African Republic conflict (2013–2014) * Ethnic conflict in Nagaland * Internal conflict in Myanmar *Jihadist insurgency in Burkina Faso, Conflict in Burkina Faso * Sri Lankan Civil War * 2020 Dungan–Kazakh ethnic clashes


See also

* Communal violence * Cultural conflict * Cultural rights * Diaspora politics * Ethnic hatred * Ethnic nationalism * Ethnic violence * Genocide * Hate crime * List of ethnic cleansing campaigns * List of ongoing military conflicts * List of ethnic riots


References


External links


European Centre for Minority Issues

INCORE International Conflict Research
* Political Studies Association]
Specialist Group on Ethnopolitics

Minority Rights Group International

Party-Directed Mediation: Facilitating Dialogue Between Individuals
by Gregorio Billikopf, free complete book PDF download, at the University of California (3rd Edition, 2014). Special focus on multiethnic and multicultural conflicts.
Party-Directed Mediation
from Internet Archive (3rd Edition, multiple file formats including PDF, EPUB, and others) {{Authority control Ethnic conflict, Conflict (process) Wars by type