Download Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War by Stuart J. Kaufman PDF

By Stuart J. Kaufman

Ethnic clash has been the driver of wars worldwide, but it is still an enigma. what's it approximately ethnicity that breaks international locations aside and drives humans to acts of savage violence opposed to their lifelong friends? Stuart Kaufman rejects the thought of everlasting "ancient hatreds" because the solution. disappointed in addition with a in simple terms rationalist rationalization, he reveals the roots of ethnic violence in myths and emblems, the tales ethnic teams inform approximately who they are.

Ethnic wars, Kaufman argues, outcome from the politics of those myths and symbols―appeals to flags and light glories that target to stir feelings instead of to deal with pursuits. well known hostility in response to those myths impels teams to stick with extremist leaders invoking such emotion-laden ethnic symbols. If ethnic domination turns into their aim, ethnic conflict is the most probably consequence. Kaufman examines modern ethnic wars within the Caucasus and southeastern Europe.

Drawing on info from a number of assets, together with visits to the areas and dozens of non-public interviews, he demonstrates that international relations and financial incentives should not adequate to avoid or finish ethnic wars. the main to genuine clash answer is peacebuilding―the often-overlooked attempt through nongovernmental enterprises to alter opposed attitudes at either the elite and the grassroots levels.

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Extra info for Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War

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Another weakness of these "hard rationalist" arguments is that al­ though they begin as arguments about individual self-interest, they end up depending on the emergence of group norms. If groups formed instru­ mentally merely to seek security, it would be rational for people on the weaker side to switch groups, and for their opponents to let them. 21 These problems can only be avoided by assuming that effective group norms prevent such conversions. 22 The trouble is that these theories do not ex­ plain why this happens.

Rationalist approaches do offer important insights, however. First, they point out that elites, who powerfully shape the course of ethnic conflict, may use ethnicity instrumentally in pursuit of their own personal interests. Second, the mass-led "tipping" process and selective incentives provided by elites are convincing explanations for how mutually hostile groups might mobilize. Finally, information failures and problems of credible com­ mitment can exacerbate interethnic security dilemmas, though rationalists misunderstand the origins of those security dilemmas.

19 The problem with this argument is that I know of no case in which ethnic war resulted from such a process. In every case I am familiar with, security dilemmas were the result of the sides' openly stated pursuit of dominance, not the result of overzealous self-defense under "emergent anarchy. " In such cases, information failures and problems of credible commitment are irrelevant: the sides would rather fight than compromise for reasons that better information and stronger commitments cannot change.

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