POLI 227 Lecture 7: Ethnic Conflict

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27 Jul 2016
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Ethnic Conflict, Genocide & Mass Atrocities:
19:28
What is ethnicity? What is ethnic conflict- used pretty broadly
To what extent are civil conflicts based on ethnic/religious differences
How is genocide different from ethnic cleansing and other mass atrocities?
Is the legal definition too broad? Too narrow?
Implications for policy/action-atleast legally, for policy or action if genocide
is taken place, states are supposed to be responsible to take action?
Do states have a duty to intervene to halt or prevent mass atrocities in other
places?
Ethnicity& Ethnic conflict:
-Ethnicity v. Nationality?
Ethnicity- often employed in other ways but it is usually a collective identity
based on cultural traits and shared experience.A shared history within that.
Usually a subset, of others. Ethnicity is socially constructed- it isn’t a
biological thing, it is cultivated that we developed socially so it is flewed and
harder to define but not less than somebodys identity.
Social construct?
Nationalism- often more far reaching than ethnicity. Population w/own
language, cultural traditions &historical aspirations seeking self-
determination. Usually some kind of language basis to this national
movement(Quebec). Seeking some kind of sovereignty
Ethnic movements may become national movements if they push for self-
determination
-Ethnic conflict? When those things come to a head- just having a multi
ethnic society, doesn’t mean there will be conflict. If one or more sees
themselves as distinct from the larger group or two ethnic groups both
seeking self-determination over the same territory
May look different in contracted places/different phases of intensity
Minimal-uneasy balance(discrimination/stereotypes)-enforced
hierarchies(policies creating splits between the two groups/displacements of
people)-systematic violence
Roots/motivation(Fearon &Laitin)- when we follow the mainstream discourse
on ethnic conflict, there is the implication that it is because of rooted
hostilitys but imperically, that is usually less common than it is often
believed
Data study of civil conflicts of 20th C(uprising)- motivations were rarely
linked to religious/ethnic differences. Usually played out on those lines but
the root motivation was not on those lines
More conditions ripe for insurgency: poverty, political instability,rough
terrain,large population.
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Groups put in place where they are in competition for self-
determination/access to resources or economic means
Idea of poverty- not just the presense, but relative deprivation- you are poor
in comparison to someone else and perceived as because of that other
group.
Resolving Ethnic Conflict:
-Power sharing models: political resolution
federalism- power divided btw central authority and constituent political
units( eg states, provinces etc.)- different units within the larger whole with
a sense of self-government.
Consciotionalism(eg. Lebanon): form of government with guaranteed group
representation. One central government with different groups guaranteed
representation ex. Quotas- guaranteed a percentage of seats, or sometimes
a leadership position like PM position or president position.
Pluses/minuses to both models- in terms of not working, Lebanon is seen as
problematic consciotionalism.
If and when a political resolution is possible, they come up a lot like during
the Iraq war- if it would be a federal government or a consciotionalism
model.
-Secession: one part of the state breaks out to form a self-determined area
or the whole state breaks up into different places.
US responded quick to ISIS because they feared Iraq breaking apart
Another form-very problematic especially if the diversity of populations are
not neatly divided into different regions like Iraq.
Curtistan is the only place of Iraq that may break up, but sunni and shi’a
states would be hard to break up.
-Intervention: usually ends up being part of the political solution, but it could
create more complications.
When should outside actors intervene?
When do they have the right to?
When is it a violation of sovereignty?
-Exhaustion: some ethnic conflicts just peter-out or reach a point of lower
intensity rather than exhaustion. This is often the case
-Post-conflict: reconciliation v. coexistence?
Idealistic to think of a positive peace, we usually aim for coexistence- 2
people able to function in the same place/state.
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Genocide & Mass Violence:
-Genocide: attempt to directly or indirectly eliminate a group of
people(Euben)
conflated with idea of ethnic cleansing which is difference, it is more of an
attempt to purify or expel a territory of one ethnic group/ or expel an ethnic
group from a territory
differs- specificity of a ethnic group in particular, genocide can extend to
other groups as well/ focuses on expelling a group of people from a given
territory where genocide wants to destroy a group of people completely
political and legal distinctions
-Ethnic cleansing: attempt to cleanse or purify a territory of one ethnic
group.
Forced to flee/migration is ethnic cleansing as opposed to extermination.
Genocide includes legal acts
By use of murder, terror, rape. Forced migration, etc.
-Crimes against humanity-widespread, systematic attacks against a civilian
population.
Created after the holocaust
Murder, deportation, rape,torture,enslavement
When people are prosecuted for war crimes, they are also prosecuted for
this. It can take place whenever civilians are being targeted, like outside war
times
Indirectly eliminated a group of people- making it impossible to survive- may
be used in conjunction with other things.
Genocide v. Ethnic Conflict?
-When does ethnic cleansing become genocide(Darfur)
UN did not lable Darfur as genocide but the US did
Purging=destroying/eliminating in part?
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