Ethnic Conflicts And Ethnic Conflict Essay

2335 Words 10 Pages
2.1 Introduction
As the dialogue on ethnic conflict continues to expand, it has perhaps become increasingly strenuous to develop consistent theory that accounts for the features, causes and prevalence of this category of warfare. Not surprisingly, numerous definitions of ethnic conflict, with opposing explanations, have been put forth and subsequently many have questioned whether ethnic warfare even exists or should be used as a concept by which to analyze conflicts. It is clear why Gilley is able to argue so adamantly “against the concept of ethnic conflict”, when he conceives of it as a “political or social conflict involving one or more groups which are identified by some marker of ethnic identity” (Crawford & Lipschutz, 1998 cited in Gilley, 2004, pp.1155). Simply recognizing the involvement of an ethnic group is a useless criterion by which to define “ethnic conflict” as it fails to address what impact ethnicity has on the causes and dimensions of conflict. Furthermore, the ability to label the actors of a conflict by some standard of ethnicity does not in any way mean that the conflict parties have organized themselves by that same marker. For the purpose of this study ethnic conflict is defined as the aggression between two or more ethnic groups with conflicting interests on matters such as political power, social status, economic resources like land or property or even identity issues.
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