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A Typology of Identity Conflicts for Comparative Research Andrew Bennett Georgetown University Paul C. Stern National Research Council Edward W. Walker University of California at Berkeley s background for discussions about a research agenda for compara- tive studies of identity conflicts, it is useful to consider a broad ty- ~ pology of conflicts, a range of conflicts in the former Soviet space that might be included in comparative studies, and the expanse of rel- evant literature. It is not expected that the eventual research will cover all this range of topics and conflicts. However, having a broad view at the outset may help guide choices of more specific research directions. TYPOLOGY OF CONFLICTS This typology includes not only a classification of identity conflicts and their sources, but also classifications of factors that may affect the course of conflicts (particularly the likelihood that they will become vio- lent); ways in which conflicts are manifested; conflict outcomes; and policy tools for preventing, mitigating, transforming, or resolving identity con- flicts. We conclude by presenting a model that can address issues of pro- cess in identity conflicts, such as the potential for change in the ways the conflict is defined. Types of Cleavage and Sources of Conflict Every society has the potential for conflict along various lines of cleav- age social, economic, and political. In an identity conflict, at least some of the parties define their grievances and objectives and organize them- 86
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A TYPOLOGY OF IDENTITY CONFLICTS FOR COMPA~TIVE RESEARCH 87 selves in terms of identity markers in the society. It is useful to distinguish the markers that are associated in a statistical sense with objective differ- ences between groups from those that are used as the basis for organizing grievances. For example, the greatest economic differentiation in a coun- try may be by region, but an internal conflict may be organized around ethnicity instead. Social cleavages may be defined by a variety of identity markers, in- cluding nationality or ethnicity, religion, region, and clan or tribe. Any of these cleavages may be used to organize the grievances of social groups. It is useful to consider both the amount of diversity on these dimensions (for example, the number of ethnic groups and their relative proportions in the population) and the geographic distribution of the diversity (for example, are the ethnic groups stratified by region or dispersed?. Economic and political cleavages and sources of grievances may also arise along several dimensions. These include levels of income and wealth; differences in political power, influence, and access; freedom or restric- tions on cultural, linguistic, or religious expression; demands for political independence or autonomy; and access to land or other natural resources. Possibilities for Nonviolent Expression and Adjudication of Grievances The course of a conflict may be influenced by the availability of meth- ods and institutions in the larger society that allow grievances to be ex- pressed and addressed by nonviolent means. It is sometimes hypoth- esized that conflicts are less likely to become violent if those pressing grievances can take advantage of the following: free elections; free press (though propagandistic media may incite violence); free assembly and expression; traditional conflict resolution methods, for example, inter- tribal councils; political representation; and effective legal recourse against violence, discrimination, and slander. Other Contextual Factors Affecting Conflicts The course of a conflict may also be affected by a variety of other attributes of the society, the conflict, or the groups involved in the con- flict. One of these is the balance offorces between the parties (typically the government and an opposition group). The balance may be equal or un- equal, and if unequal, may be government- or opposition-dominated. The balance includes military capabilities, and also strength of commitment to the conflict (King, 1997~. Other factors include the number of parties to the conflict (two, three, or multiple); the existence of external assistance to any or all parties and the extent and type of such assistance (military, economic,
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88 CONFLICT AND RECONSTRUCTION IN MULTIETHNIC SOCIETIES diplomatic, ideational); internal sources of resources for the parties (for ex- ample, revenue, arms) and the type and extent of such resources; the degree of group cohesion maintained by each party; and the level of external interest in conflict resolution. Manifestations and Outcomes of Conflict Identity conflicts may have a variety of violent and nonviolent mani- festations, all of which may be treated analytically as outcomes of the conflict at the time they are observed. The violent manifestations, ordered roughly from most to least extensive, include organized large-scale war- fare; guerilla warfare; ethnic cleansing and forced migration; riots and other mass civil disturbances, either spontaneous or planned, for example, pogroms; and isolated incidents of small-scale violence, such as attacks on individuals or businesses. The variety of nonviolent manifestations of identity conflict includes protests; electoral polarization on identity-group lines; creation of civil society organizations that express political agendas on identity lines, for example, newspapers, identity-defined civic organi- zations; and complaints in the legal system. Other aspects of identity conflicts may also be analyzed as outcomes. These include changes in the political objectives of the parties, redefinition of the conflict by the parties, and changes in levels of hostility between identity groups. Policy Tools Policy tools may be used by parties to the conflict and by third parties within and outside the country where the conflict is located. Some tools are more readily used by internal parties and some by third parties; some tools benefit from the involvement of both. Several general policy strate- gies and some tools that (primarily) employ each strategy have been iden- tified. The major categories derive from the typology in Stern and Druck- man (2000~. Power politics strategies are usually imposed from outside. They in- clude arms embargoes, economic sanctions, judicial measures such as criminal tribunals, military intervention (limited or full-scale; unilateral or multilateral), threats of force, inducements to negotiate, bargaining to trade off interests, and so-called power mediation. Conflict mitigation strategies may be initiated from outside or by the parties. These include humanitarian assistance, fact-finding missions, mediation, confidence-building measures, traditional peacekeeping op- erations, multifunctional peacekeeping operations, military and economic technical assistance, and unilateral conflict reduction initiatives for ex- ample, inducements, graduated reciprocation in tension-reduction (GRIT), . . compromise on grievances.
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A TYPOLOGY OF IDENTITY CONFLICTS FOR COMPA~TIVE RESEARCH 89 Conflict transformation strategies are often initiated from outside, but always involve the parties. These include problem-solving workshops, alternative dispute resolution techniques, and attempts at reconciliation by truth commissions. Structural prevention strategies always involve the parties and often involve support from outside. These include strategies of electoral system design, autonomy arrangements, power-sharing arrangements for ex- ample, consociationism, ethnic set-asides, legal guarantees of free speech and association, and the development of civil institutions for expression and adjudication of grievances. Normative change strategies involve the application of international norms, such as human rights, to conflicts that might otherwise be ad- dressed only by local- and national-level institutions. Modeling Process in Identity Conflicts It is important for research to pay attention to the variety and fluidity of ways identity conflicts are defined. For example, it is important to take into account the fact that political objectives do not remain the same over time. Moreover, there can be conflicts about objectives within a group, lack of clarity about what a group's objectives are, and different objectives for different groups in a conflict. Sometimes a policy goal is to change the parties' political objectives, for example, from independence to autonomy. A typology that divides conflicts into categories such as ethnic, religious, etc. avoids that problem but doesn't adequately distinguish the objective dimensions of cleavage in the society from the identity markers around which groups organize. Sometimes there may be great economic differ- ences by region, but an insurgency organizes around ethnicity. It may be useful to think about these issues with a metamodel (see Figure 1~. Contextual factors Policy interventions - - - - - - q~_ - Intervening variables FIGURE 1 A metamodel of issues contributing to identity conflicts. ~ Outcomes
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So CONFLICT AND RECONSTRUCTION IN MULTIETHNIC SOCIETIES Contextual factors are things a policy cannot change in a given time frame, but outcomes are contingent on them. Intervening variables are things the policy can target, and outcomes are contingent on them, too, but context may affect them. From this perspective, the category of possi- bilities for nonviolent expression/adjudication of grievances represents an important class of intervening variables affecting whether a conflict becomes violent. A typology of outcomes should include both violent and nonviolent types. Research needs to recognize that conflicts are dynamic that is, that there are important feedbacks not shown in the above simple model. All outcomes are interim, and over the long term, policies may even change contextual factors, for example, the structure of the state, by altering the interim outcomes of the conflict. A fruitful conceptual framework is one that allows the examination of conflicts in time series and that allows for the consideration of feedbacks. LITERATURE REVIEW The problem of conflict perpetuation and termination has been ap- proached in several ways, with each approach focusing on specific as- pects of conflict, and therefore prescribing different paths to resolution. Early studies argued that the issues at stake in civil wars are indivisible, and therefore negotiated settlements are nearly impossible (Ikle, 1971; Modelski, 1964; Pillar, 1983~. This approach was later taken by many of those studying ethnic conflict, leading some to argue that the only solu- tion is partition (Kaufmann, 1996~. Approached from the point of view of causes of conflict or griev- ances, conflict is seen as the violent expression of unresolved political issues and inequalities. The answer to this situation is often a political solution of democratic governance (Lake, 2001; Rothchild, 1997; Sisk; 1996~. Others focus on the termination of conflict and a concern with stable peace agreements, arguing that conflict termination is hindered by security dilemmas and spoilers (Walter and Snyder, 1999; Posen, 1993; Stedman, 1991, 1997~. The solution suggested is a power-sharing agree- ment ensured by a credible security guarantee from international actors. These approaches tend to focus on static moments in the conflict, rather than acknowledging the organic and changing nature of conflict. In other words, these approaches often assume that what initiated the conflict is what keeps it going, and that the groups prefer peace to war. In contrast to these political and security approaches, a different ap- proach looks at the economics of conflict and the motivation of greed (Berdal and Malone 2000; Collier, 1999; Collier and Hoeffler 2000; Keen, 1998; Reno, 1998~. This approach suggests that parties may not only fi-
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A TYPOLOGY OF IDENTITY CONFLICTS FOR COMPARATIVE RESEARCH 91 nance their war efforts through economic and political networks, but also get rich while doing so. This suggests one reason conflicts persist in re- source-rich areas, and also raises a challenge to the assumption that bel- ligerent groups prefer peace to war. The solution suggested is the elimi- nation of access to these economic benefits, often through the imposition of sanctions, as in Sierra Leone. However, these remedies have been rela- tively ineffective to date. REFERENCES Anderson, M. B. 1994. Promoting Peace or Promoting War? The Complex Relationship between International Assistance and Conflict. Cambridge: The Collaborative for De- velopment Action. Anderson, M. B. 1999. Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace or War. Boulder: Lynne- Rienner. Azar, E. 1990. The Management of Protracted Social Conflict. Hampshire, UK: Gower. Bercovitch, J., and J. Z. Rubin, eds. 1992. Mediation in International Relations: Multiple Approaches to Conflict Management. Hampshire, UK: Macmillan Press. Berdal, M. R., and D. Malone, eds. 2000. Greed and Grievance: Economic Agendas in Civil Wars. Boulder: Lynne-Rienner. Brown, M. E., ed. 1993. Ethnic Conflict and International Security. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Brown, M. E., ed. 1996. Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict. Cambridge: MIT Press. Brown, M. E., ed. 1996. The International Dimensions of Internal Conflict. Cambridge: MIT Press. Burton, J., and F. Dukes, eds. 1990. Conflict: Practices in Management, Settlement, and Resolution. New York: St. Martin's Press. Collier, P. 1999. Doing Well Out of War. Paper presented at the Conference on Economic Agendas in Civil Wars, London, April 1999. Collier, P. 1999. On the Economic Consequences of Civil War. Oxford Economic Papers 51: 168-183. Collier, P., and A. Hoeffler. 1999. Justice-Seeking and Loot-Seeking in Civil War. World Bank. February. Collier, P., and A. Hoeffler. 2000. Greed and Grievance in Civil War. World Bank. March. Collier, P., A. Hoeffler, and M. Soderbom. 1999. On the Duration of Civil War. World Bank. February. Durch, W. J., ed. 1996. UN Peacekeeping, American Policy, and the Uncivil Wars of the 1990s. New York: St. Martin's Press. Esman, M. J. 1994. Ethnic Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Fisher, R. J. 1997. Interactive Conflict Resolution. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. Gurr, T. R. 1993. Minorities at Risk. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace. Gurr, T. R. 1994. Peoples Against States. International Studies Quarterly 38~3~: 347-377. Haass, R. N. 1994. Intervention: The Use of American Military Force in the Post-Cold War World. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Horowitz, D. L. 1985. Ethnic Groups in Conflict. Berkeley: University of California Press. Ikle, F. 1971. Every War Must End. New York: Columbia University Press. Kaldor, M. 1999. New and Old Wars. Cambridge: Polity Press. Kaufmann, C. 1996. Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil Wars. International Security 20(Spring)~4~: 136-175.
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