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Under What Conditions Does Ethnic Conflict Result in Armed Violence?


By going to an ethnic festival, eating the cuisine, seeing dancing and hearing music we have never seen or heard before, we get a glimpse of the meaning of ethnic identity. We experience a group different from our own. We are likely to stand in wonder, appreciating this diversity. But we might feel perplexed to imagine how these differences in identity can result in armed conflict.

In this chapter, we aim to advance understanding of when ethnic conflict leads to armed violence. People who are part of an ethnic group have unique cultures. They have common social mores (such as expectations that spouses will be of that culture), an identifiable cuisine (such as a selection of curries), and traditions that set them apart from other groups (such as celebrating certain holidays). In addition to cultural traditions, people with a specific ethnic identity (such as the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka) often have a predominant religious affiliation (in this case, Buddhism) and an accompanying language (Sinhala). For simplicity, in this chapter we will refer to these three markers of identity—ethnicity, religion, and culture—as “ethnic.”

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Full Citation:

McCauley, Clark and Joseph G. Bock. 2017. "Under What Conditions Does Ethnic Conflict Result in Armed Violence?" In Preventing War and Promoting Peace: A Guide for Health Professionals, eds. William H. Wiist and Shelley K. White. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 103-114.  https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=98g-DwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR10&dq=%E2%80%9Cstudy+of+terrorism+and+responses%E2%80%9D&ots=E63eGAyE1I&sig=KDHSNeb8zaaVmyiO6Eeltruhnc0#v=onepage&q=mccauley&f=false

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