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Demonstration Effects and the Contagion of Ethnic Conflict: Theoretical Specifications and Tentative Findings
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2007 (English)In: Paper presented at the 48th Annual International Studies Association Convention, Chicago, 28 February - 3 March, 2007, 2007Conference paper (Other (popular scientific, debate etc.))
Abstract [en]

Systematic recent research, as well as empirical patterns, suggests that civil conflicts do not take place solely within the confines of state borders. On the contrary, the probability of conflict on-set appears highly dependent upon conditions and existing conflicts in neighboring states. This study examines ethnically mobilized internal conflict and the conditions under which actors in neighboring states adopt contagious behavior, through demonstration effects. Three claims are elaborated. First, it is argued that when ethnic groups gains concessions using armed struggle, for example through territorial autonomy, groups in their neighborhood are likely to be inspired to promote their own cause. Secondly, it is claimed that regardless of the amount of inspiration such demonstration effects provide, groups are unlikely to challenge their government unless they possess the capabilities required to do so. Third, it is claimed that the effects of both concessions and group strength should be particularly pronounced if actors in the conflict state share ethnic bonds with groups in neighboring states. These claims are evaluated in preliminary empirical tests, using global data on the actors involved ethnic conflict in the 1989-2005 period, e.g. the constituency and bonds these groups have, concessions gained, and strength of proximate groups. While the findings regarding the second claim are robust to a number of specifications, the first claim appears to have less impact of contagion processes. Also, kinship does seem to matter, but in ways contrary to expectation. One conclusion drawn from this study is that al-though many researchers have emphasized the risk of demonstration effects, it may be a rare phenomenon, happening mainly in particular circumstances and perhaps not originating in inspiration based on political success.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-13160OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-13160DiVA: diva2:40930
Paper presented at the 48th Annual International Studies Association Convention, Chicago, 28 February - 3 March, 2007Available from: 2008-03-30 Created: 2008-03-30

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