Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Priorities for Research on Culture, Identity, and Conflict Anatoly M. Khazanov, Aleksey Miller, 7~eokadia Drobizheva, Matthew Evangelista, Yoshiko M. Herrera, Aleksandr Kamensky, Valikhan Merzikhanov, Eduard D. Ponarin his working group's assignment is culture, identity, and conflict. The group was not appointed by the National Research Council or the National Academies. Therefore, its findings reflect the views of the individuals composing the group, not necessarily those of the National Academies or the appointed committee. The relationship between identity and ethnic conflict should be stud- ied with regard to the following four themes (1) the relationship be- tween identity and action; (2) the dynamics of ethnic identity; (3) the role of social, economic, and cultural conditions; and (4) the role of the state and elites. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN IDENTITY AND ACTION It should be recognized that identities by themselves do not generate conflict and violence. Moreover, if the goal is to explain specific out- comes, such as ethnic strife, the relationship between identity and action must be addressed more fully. Therefore, it is worthwhile to shift atten- tion from theorizing ethnicity and identity formation to understanding ethnically motivated behavior, in other words, how ethnic identity influ- ences behavior and actions that lead to conflict. Among other things, this should facilitate the forecasting of imminent ethnic conflicts. One may suggest further research along the following lines: 17
8 CONFLICT AND RECONSTRUCTION IN MULTIETHNIC SOCIETIES · Interests are indeed the motor that drives the establishment and orientation of identity into action. One must better understand the rela- tionship between identity, interests, and action. Also, one needs to take into account the idea of perceived interests, which might not always be the same as objective assessments of interests. · Indicators of the self-consciousness or status of ethnic groups should be developed. A group's perception of social and political inequal- ity, trampled dignity, and a sense of humiliation are causes of negativism in identity. A condition for tolerant interethnic relations may be the posi- tive perception of one's own group (including a critical regard for nega- tive facts in its history and current life) and the readiness for contacts with other groups. · Quantitative and qualitative measures and indicators of the level of tension between different groups as well as the conditions under which tension is transformed into actual conflict are needed. · Certain values, behavioral norms, and worldviews separate the groups that are in conflict or in a state of interethnic tension. Moreover, certain ideologies can lead to violent conflicts in specific situations. Rigor- ous study must be undertaken to clarify the connections between ideas, programs, and specific actions. · The relationship between content and intensity of the components of ethnic identity and action must be further explored. In particular, spe- cific behavioral outcomes must be studied with respect to the components of ethnic identity. THE DYNAMICS OF ETHNIC IDENTITY In the study of identity and its relationship to conflict, it is necessary to understand identity as a dynamic process, meaning that the compo- nents of identity are subject to change. These changes may have impor- tant implications for ethnic relations; some changes may be related to greater levels of conflict and others, to lower levels. It is necessary to consider more fully the following types of changes: · Content or bases of ethnic identity: The content of identity may include, for example, race, gender, language, culture, symbolic bound- aries, political positions, territorial claims, or economic positions. This content is not constant but also subject to change; moreover, certain as- pects of content are more or less subject to change. · Intensity: The intensity of groups' attachment to particular aspects of identity may change. For example, at one time, language may be seen as a very important component of identity, and at another time, territorial claims might be seen as primary.
PRIORITIES FOR RESEARCH ON CULTURE, IDENTITY, AND CONFLICT 19 · Contestation: The components of identity are subject to contesta- tion within groups. In other words, there may be competition within the groups for the primacy of particular ideas, values, or claims. · Historical change, or changes over time: This point may seem obvi- ous, but it is often not taken into account, especially in the construction of data sets, which are compiled at a certain point in time and not subse- quently updated as identities change. · Orientation of ethnic identity to various types of nationalism, such as civic, ethnic, political, cultural, and others: There are different types of relationships between particular identities and various nationalist pro- grams, and these relations are subject to change. · Relations between ethnic groups: The level of tension as well as actual relations between groups change, and these changes must be moni- tored. SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, AND CULTURAL CONDITIONS Worldwide political and economic changes, often associated with the term globalization, can contribute to altering social, economic, and cultural conditions in a way that contributes to the emergence of ethnic conflict. Moreover, in the former Soviet area, transitions from one-party rule and centralized state control of the economy also constitute an important source of complementary change in these conditions. The study of this topic presupposes that · Ethnic identities become salient and relevant to conflict under cer- tain conditions. · One mechanism by which such external and internal changes can activate ethnic conflict is by creating differential impacts on particular groups and provoking concerns about inequality of both opportunity and status. · Not only the differential impact of such changes on groups or re- gions but particularly the perceptions of those changes must be consid- ered; some groups perceive that they are doing better or worse than other groups under the new conditions, or have greater or lesser opportunities to take advantage of the new conditions. These changes and perceptions may be related to the potential for conflict. · It is important to better understand how changes in status or op- portunities stemming from economic and political transitions and global- ization are interpreted through institutions such as the media and educa- tion. The media and educational institutions can heighten the salience of ethnic identity by invoking historical myths and grievances. · One must understand why the differential impact of the changes is
20 CONFLICT AND RECONSTRUCTION IN MULTIETHNIC SOCIETIES perceived in terms of ethnic identity rather than other possible identities, such as class, gender, or age (generations). THE ROLE OF THE STATE AND ELITES Almost all CIS states consist of multiethnic and multinational societ- ies with pluralistic identities and narratives, which increase the necessity for and simultaneously the danger of an activist state. In this respect, the role of the state in regulating ethnic relations may include legislative acts, executive or governmental decisions, selective enforcement of laws and administrative practices, as well as the use of police or military force. Along these themes, further research is needed on the following is- sues: · More work should be done in determining the optimal role of the state in regulating ethnic relations and its intervention on ethnoterritorial Foundries, especially in conditions where a state is identified with an ethnonational majority, or where linguistic and/or cultural assimilation or accommodation has progressed. At present, nationalizing and assimi- lating projects are often less successful than in the past because ethnic collectivities are differentiated today more and more by symbolic bound- aries and markers, rather than by real and significant cultural differences. · It is necessary to understand whether minority groups perceive their relations with the state in strictly formal terms of citizenship or whether they embrace the more ambitious program of civic nationalism, which implies the acceptance and interiorization of common historical memories, values, norms, rituals, and symbols that exceed the formal pledge of allegiance. · Finally, it remains underinvestigated to what extent and why eth- nic elites are enjoying the support of their coethnics. One may wonder whether, in the post-Soviet context, ethnic solidarity is mainly based on historical memory (real or constructed and manipulated) and common experiences (or experiences that can be presented as common), which flowed into overall legitimation myths, or if it is a more rational response to the interplay of sociopolitical, cultural, and economic factors. It is also worth exploring the extent to which ethnopolitics provide real or per- ceived benefits to the members of corresponding groups, for example, social advancement, new economic opportunities, or cultural reproduc- tion.