PNEWPOLISCI - Ethnic Identity The importance of a persons...

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Ethnic Identity The importance of a person’s ethnic identity is an issue that is wrought with conflict, and the relationship between ethnicity and politics is greatly debated. Ethnicity is a complex issue, and one that often requires a multidisciplinary view – it is necessary to consider all the implications of ethnicity in order to fully understand the effect that ethnicity has on politics. Further, ethnicity is an issue that is deeply seated (the issue is not necessarily a surface cause, it is difficult to separate one’s ethnicity from one’s political views). Again, complicating the matter, politicians often wield the emotional power of ethnicity in order to gain significant power. In spite of (or perhaps, because of) the fact that the issue of ethnicity is so difficult to comprehend, it is important that political scientists attempt to research and explain the complex nature of ethnic identity and how it relates to politics. The most compelling question concerning the issue of ethnicity is the attempt to discover why some nations are able to overcome ethnic divides and unify, while other nations are left fractured, and faced with insurrection. Throughout history, nations (defined here as a large group from which members derive their basic political identity and to which they devote a large amount of devotion [Price, 2005.]) attempted to unify, occasionally with success, and at other times, with failure. The issue most in need of explanation is why some nations succeed at creating a unified state (such as Switzerland) and why other states appear unable to create a state that becomes unified (such as Iraq). This issue is of great importance to modern politics, as the United States is embroiled in an insurrection in Iraq, and many governments (such as the British government, and the United States government) and nongovernmental agencies (such as the United Nations) are searching for a solution to the schism in Iraq. Further, these agencies are
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searching for a solution that could prevent future divisions from occurring in nations. Importantly, this issue is universal, as nations across the globe have struggled with unification. In summary, the research design will attempt to discover the reason why some nations are able to overcome the problems associated with ethnic divisions, while other nations are unable to overcome this obstacle. The question discussed in this research design is hardly a new or novel question, and there is an abundant amount of literature. The difficulty in a literature review is sorting out which literature is pertinent to the question. Further complicating the issue is excluding research designs, which include too many variables to be truly valuable in answering, or furthering the question. For example, Muslims in the West (Haddad and Qurqmaz 2000, 5) offers an interesting study on the effect of Muslims in Switzerland, and the manner in which Switzerland dealt with the rapid immigration of Muslims. However, the article focuses mainly on the conflict between
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PNEWPOLISCI - Ethnic Identity The importance of a persons...

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