PS_03 - Byman: "Ethnic Conflict in Today's World"...

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Byman: “Ethnic Conflict in Today’s World” and “Causes of Ethnic Conflict” Key Definitions: Ethnic Group – a group of people bound together by a belief of common kinship and group distinctiveness, often reinforced by religion, language, and history. -also one that numbers, or has numbered, over ten thousand people -ex: Russians (a common language, perceptions of a shared history) -ex: Jews (belief in common ancestry reinforced by a common religion and history) Ethnic Conflict – a violent conflict between ethnic groups or between an ethnic group and government forces that consist of one or more different ethnic groups. Ethnic conflict also embraces sectarian conflict as long as the religious groups in conflict operate essentially as a community. -An ethnic conflict can be considered terminated when deaths fall below a hundred per year for a minimum of 20 years (although rape, riots and other forms of violence should also be considered). -Two main types of conflict: 1. group versus group conflict, with the government acting as a third party (ex: Hindu-Muslim riots in India) 2. group versus government conflict, where the government is an active party acting on behalf of one ethnic group (ex: Tamil rebellions against the Sinhalese-dominated central government in Sri Lanka) Byman examines four theories of the causes of ethnic conflict: the ethnic security dilemma, staus concerns, hegemonic ambitions, and the aspirations of elites. -Byman notes that the one similarity between these four causes is the necessity of organization for a sustained campaign or violence (must have some established leaders, an intelligence network, a recruitment arm, sources of money, and perhaps links to outside supporters). -These four causes can coexist. -Identifying the causes of ethnic conflict is useful when delving into the broader question how to keep the peace. Ethnic Security Dilemma : -Seeking to enhance one’s own security causes reactions that, in the end, can make one less secure -Groups war when no sovereign authority can ensure a group’s security -Particularly important when explaining conflicts where governments are absent or weak, but can be applied to all cases where groups feel threatened -There doesn’t have to be anarchy for this theory to apply, it can also come into play where sovereign authority is weak (like it was in many traditional monarchies before colonialism), where the central government is a party to conflict (as in Ba’athist Iraq with the repression of the Kurds), or in situations of sudden change (like a shift in the political balance among groups or the demobilization of group military forces).
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course INTL 4680 taught by Professor Bloom during the Fall '07 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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PS_03 - Byman: "Ethnic Conflict in Today's World"...

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