Ethnic Conflict – Defined as a conflict between ethnic groups often as a result of ethnic nationalism. The
definition of ethnicity is then a social construction involving a distinctive and enduring collective identity
based on a belief in a common descent and on shared experiences & cultural traits. Ethnic conflicts have
become much more prevalent since the Cold War and can result in war crimes or genocide. These
conflicts can come about due to colonial legacies, manipulation of stereotypes, competition of scarce
resources, economic modernization, weak political institutions or the proliferation of weapons. Often the
resolution for eliminating the differences between ethnicities involves genocide, mass-population
transfers, secession or integration. They differences can also be managed by hegemonic control,
arbitration, federalism or consociationalism (strategic division of powers to protect rights of all
•Ethnicity can occur due to tribes, religion, culture or race.
•There are 4 levels of ethnic conflict: relative harmony, uneasy balance, enforced hierarchy &
Rwandan Genocide – Occurred during 1994 throughout Rwanda, this was an ethnic conflict between the
Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority ethnic groups. It resulted in the mass genocide of 18% of the
country’s total population (about 800,000 people). It was the culmination of a longstanding ethnic
competition and tension between the minority Tutsi, who had controlled power for centuries, and the
majority Hutus. The Hutus come to power during the rebellion of 1959-1962 and overthrown the Tutsi
monarchy. The Tutsis were often mistreated and thus a group called the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF)
composed mostly of Tutsi refugees invaded northern-Rwanda and attempted to defeat the Hutu
government. Ultimately, the death of Rwanda’s Hutu President in 1994 set off the chain of events which
led to the Hutus conducting mass genocide against the Tutsis and pro-peace Hutus. This is a significant
event as it outlined the extreme effects of ethnic conflict, economic and social suppression as well as a
lack of intervention from the international community (due to the Somalia Effect).
Darfur, Sudan – An ongoing ethnic conflict centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. The conflict began
in 2003 by the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice Equality Movement (JEM) vs.
Government Military/Police (Janjaweed). The prior groups accused the government of oppressing non-
Arab Sudanese in favour of Sudanese Arabs, This is a conflict involve social and economic inequality
between the two groups directly caused by government involvement. It has been argued that this has
formed a type of Arab apartheid in the country much like the White Apartheid in South Africa. Since the
beginning of the conflict there have been claims of about 450,000 people who have been killed. Yet, the
international community has not intervened because of a UN report that stated “while there have been
gross violations, genocidal intent appears to be missing”. Progress has been made recently with peace
talks and negotiations but there still continues to be violence in the region. This is an example where
secession is a much more suitable solution rather than consociationalism or federalism.
Conflict Resolution – Methods and policies aimed at resolving multiple levels of conflict whether at an
inter-personal, between groups or between states. It can involve negotiation, mediation, diplomacy and
creative peacebuilding. Types of conflict resolution are by means of Constitution design where power is
divided between groups by law. This can include federalism which is division of power between the
central government and provinces (works before or after conflict; not during) or consociationalism which
is a division of political power between formerly antagonistic groups. Other methods include secession
(creating a new country), peacekeeping and outside intervention by either the UN or other nations and
reconciliation. The latter deals with establishing accountability and rebuilding trust which includes
holding war crime tribunals.
Social Cleavages – These are sociopolitical divisions within a society around which political parties
organize. As groups begin to show voting tendencies based on fractures in society, they associate more
and more with bodes of ideological thought that turn into political parties. Types of social cleavages
include class cleavage (income and social position; common in NA), ethnic cleavage (based on race,
culture and languages; common in Global South), religious cleavage (based on religious affiliation;
Northern Ireland and India) and regional cleavage (geographical or regional lines; Sudan). Social
cleavages can often hinder development as it may cause one group to persecute another group. This may
in turn lead to conflict.
Religious Fundamentalism – A strict adherence to specific set of theological doctrines typically in
reaction against modernization and secularization. It can either refer to radical fundamentalists who are at
the extreme ends and seek to conduct holy war. Or, it can refer to conservative fundamentalists who wish
to shield their religion from outside influences but do not view other religions as enemies. Radicalism is
often seen as negative trait as the beliefs are often irreducible. Religious fundamentalism is not limited to
any specific region as it is seen with groups in North American such as the KKK and in Islamic countries
such as al-Qaeda. Fundamentalists often object to modern development policies as they feel it
“Americanizes” their society or allows a lesser race of humans to exist in their society (as equals). It can
be based on religious cleavages causing two or more groups to enter into conflict.
Religious-based Conflict – Conflict that stems from religious fundamentalism and social cleavages based
on religion. It can be influenced by the extent to which a religious community feels dominated by another.
As well, it can be influenced by the degree to which a religion believes that it is the one true faith and
alternative theologies are unacceptable. While man conflicts involve some form of religious tension, it is
difficult to find recent conflicts that are based purely on religious strife. Often there is a mix of religion,
culture and class differences which can lead to conflict. A key aspect is the state policies that are in place.
For example, the government in Saudi Arabia instituted a carefully controlled process of modernization.
On the other hand, Iran experienced a rapid process of westernization and socio-economic development
leading to the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
Religion and Development – Development theories are premised on the secularization of society
(removal of religion from politics). If there are radical fundamentalists groups present in a state then
development can be hindered as these groups often oppose change. They may form armed groups to stop
development policies and spread propaganda. This is not always the case as shown during the 1960
Liberation Theology which allowed the Catholic Church in Latin America to begin to move in a more
progressive and liberal direction. This was done via a Church of the Poor which stressed emancipation of
the poor and lead to development. Other theorists have suggested political liberalization and legalization
of religious parties as a means to address development. There are four links between development and
•Development on Western notions of progress (such as capitalism and democracy) has threatened
cultural identities and ways of life. This has led to religious backlash.
•Poverty and inequality generated by mainstream development policies have pushed individuals to
search for alternatives.
•Technology tools of modernization enable religious fundamentalists to preach to a wider
•The indignities of colonialism and neo-colonialism have generated resentment towards Western-
imposed development schemes.
WID/GAD/WCD – WID refers to women in development. It calls for greater attention to women in order
to address their issues and problems, emphasize the need to integrate women into development process
and relies on development projects that enhance woman’s traditional skills. GAD refers to gender and
development which focuses on socially constructed relations between man and women. As well, there is
an emphasize on the need to challenge existing gender roles and relations. WCD refers to women, culture
and development which link the fields of feminist studies, cultural studies and critical development
studies. It also highlights the multiple forms of oppression that women in the Global South face. Finally, it
emphasizes the agency of women creating NGOs and institutions that will fight for and protect their
Subordination of Women – The situation whereby men as a group have more social and economic power
than women, including power over women. There are different structures of subordination including
property relation (the right to own land), the legal system (inheritance laws, divorce laws), division of
labour (types of jobs and the work done in these jobs), access to services (education, health care and child
care), power structure in the house (decision making powers and the status). Subordination of women is
commonly seen in underdeveloped countries and countries part of the Global South. One of the goals of
development is to ensure that women are treated equally and fairly in society. This is particularly true in a
Triple Workload of Women – In addition to learning and running the household, woman are required to
supplement the social services that the government cannot or will not provide. This includes health care,
child care and caring of sick family members. This can greatly limit the social role of a woman to simply
managing the household. In effect, in limits their ability to work and learn a wage as well as contribute
directly to the economic. This triple workload forces to the woman to be a subordinate as the man is then
the primary income provider. It is a problem faced by countries in the Global South as the government is
does not have the necessary funds to create social assistance programs.
Women and SAPs – Social assistance programs increases their pay work to compensate for male
unemployment which increases living costs. As well, it increases their unpaid labour to compensate for
state cutbacks in public services and they suffer disproportionately due to reduced public services.
Practical Gender Needs – The needs that women identify in their socially accepted role in society as a
response to an immediate perceived need (inadequate living conditions, healthcare, employment). They do
not challenge gender divisions and their subordinate position.
Strategic Gender Needs – This can vary by context and are identified by women as a result of their
subordinate social status. They tend to challenge gender vision of labour power and control as well as
traditionally defined norms and roles such as legal rights, equality and domestic violence.
Women and MDGs – One of the goals of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the empower
women. The MDGs were adopted by the world’s leaders and development institutions and outlines a set of
goals to be reached by 2015. It includes the promotion of gender equality as well as empowering women.
Other goals directly affecting women are guaranteed sexual and reproductive health, improve
infrastructure to provide women with greater access to services, guarantee property and inheritance rights,
Ethnic conflict defined as a conflict between ethnic groups often as a result of ethnic nationalism. The definition of ethnicity is then a social construction involving a distinctive and enduring collective identity based on a belief in a common descent and on shared experiences & cultural traits. Ethnic conflicts have become much more prevalent since the cold war and can result in war crimes or genocide. These conflicts can come about due to colonial legacies, manipulation of stereotypes, competition of scarce resources, economic modernization, weak political institutions or the proliferation of weapons. Often the resolution for eliminating the differences between ethnicities involves genocide, mass-population transfers, secession or integration. Rwandan genocide occurred during 1994 throughout rwanda, this was an ethnic conflict between the. Hutu majority and the tutsi minority ethnic groups. It resulted in the mass genocide of 18% of the country"s total population (about 800,000 people).