POLS 3490 September 19 2013
POLS 3490 Conflict and Conflict Resolution
September 19, 2013
Identity, Ethnicity and Violence
***When studying: remember names of authors appreciate different opinions of authors.
Remember two to three sentences. ***
***On final: quotations identifying passages from readings (know names of people and their
position on certain issues). ***
Dimensions to ethnic identity and ethic formation
Crawford Young (author) talks about three different ways of identity formation
The three are distinguishably only analytically, in the real world they are
interwoven. In real life harder to separate these three (below)
1) The primordial dimensions
a. Ethnicity is effectively biological; relatively unchanging
i. Genetic up brining: deeply felt and not about to change.
Essentially something you are born with.
2) Instrumental dimension
a. The ethnic politician; identity that is subject to manipulation
i. Ethnicity is a social construct
1. Not in your blood, subject to manipulation; can be
created, formed etc.
3) The constructivist dimension
a. Reliant on cultural entrepreneurs who codify and standardize culture
i. “If you are of this group, these are the kinds of things that you
How Does Ethnic Violence Happen?
Young has an explanation as to how ethnic conflict can come about:
- 1. “People have preexistent consciousness regarding who they are, as well as
sentiments about another group with whom they are mildly competitive”.
o And then something happens, a triggering event: election, leader dies,
state collapses, government collapses. Makes “you” suddenly worried
“Perhaps some triggering event — the death of a leader, an
election, political or economic uncertainty, state collapse—
produces worry that a group’s relative position in society is in
jeopardy or is even up for grabs”- Young
- 2. “Egged- on by “ethnic politicians” who point to past injustices, one group
may make a preventative strike to secure power or assure their sovereignty.
- 3. “But such action is in turn greeted with hostility by others groups who
have their own security concerns about their future and see the actins of
their adversary fulfilling certain expectations about their adversary’s
Approaches To Ethnic Identity And Ethnic Formation
- How you understand identity and identity – formation determines how you
solve identity conflict
1 POLS 3490 September 19 2013
The liberal/ believer view
John Mueller= liberal category
Mueller: “what we assume to be “ethnic wars” are not really ethnic wars at all.”
Most people most of the time get along
Ethnic pluralism does not lead to violence in most cases
What you assume to be ethnic conflict is not (^ where Mueller stands on “ethnic
What happened in Yugoslavia and Rwanda could happen anywhere.
- Ethnicity is fluid and subject to change and manipulation
- Consequently, solutions need not be radical: minimal amount of help from
disciplined police force. Keep states multi- ethnic.
o Conflict= thugs being allowed to run wild.
o Being ethnic, being different, does not make “me” hate “you”
It is not what pushes people to violent acts