By Neil Davidson
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Extra info for Nation-States: Consciousness and Competition
33 As we have seen, Rwanda provides a particularly tragic example of what can result from the residue of Western-invented “ethnicities” in a situation of acute social crisis: the genocide of 1994, far from being the expression of age-old “ethnic” animosities, was prepared by the destructive impact of colonialism on Central Africa. ”35 The more developed world— in this case the Balkans—provides us with the best example of how, unlike in Central Africa, “ethnicities” can arise with virtually no prior basis.
During the feudal era, for example, Jewish people were persecuted for their religious beliefs, but as capitalism developed this persecution increasingly focused on their supposed race. Whatever the reason or pretext, however, ruling classes throughout history have instigated or endorsed the oppression of different groups in order to maintain or create divisions among those over whom they rule. Recently, groups have increasingly been subjected to oppression on the grounds of their ethnicity. ” The term “ethnic cleansing” is an English translation of the SerboCroatian phrase etni´cko c´iš´cenje.
22 Ethnicity was therefore reserved for “minorities” identified by attributes as diverse as skin color (blacks), religion ( Jews), or country of origin (Italians). 25 He was not being entirely serious, but the proposal takes the mad logic of “ethnic identity” to its conclusion in Bedlam. ”26 Weber made the same point, in more academic language, much earlier in the century: All in all, the notion of “ethnically” determined social action subsumes phenomena that a rigorous sociological analysis . .