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Ethnic war

(Redirected from Ethnic conflict)

An ethnic war is a war between ethnic groups often as a result of ethnic nationalism. They are of interest because of the apparent prevalence in the aftermath of the Cold War and because they frequently result in war crimes such as genocide.

Two controversial questions about ethnic wars is whether they are more prevalent in the post-Cold War period and whether they are really about ethnicity at all. There are a number of political scientists who refer to the concept of ethnic wars as a myth becase they argue that the root causes of ethnic conflict do not involve ethnicity but rather institutional, political, and economic factors. These political scientists argue that the concept of ethnic war is misleading because it leads to the conclusion that certain groups are doomed to fight each other when in fact the wars between them are the result of political decisions. Opposing groups may substitute ethnicity for the underlying factors to simplify identification of friend and foe.

A classic example of the reformulation of economic differences as ethnic differences is found in Rwanda. In a 1930s census, all people owning ten or more head of cattle were classified as Tutsi; everyone else was classified as Hutu.

On the other hand, it is reasonable to suppose that the dominance of political correctness and multiculturalist ideology within the social sciences may contribute to motivations for deconstructing the very idea of ethnic conflict; each arguably has a vested interest in downplaying the "ethnic" in "ethnic conflict."

See also: ethnic conflict in India, List of ethnic conflicts triggered by the U.K.


Last updated: 08-26-2005 04:41:39
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