Contagion of Ethnic Conflict:: The Strategic Role of Kin Groups
2006 (English)Conference paper (Other (popular scientific, debate etc.))
This paper examines the conditions under which ethnic conflict may be contagious. Since ethnic conflict and ethnic groups overlap international boundaries, this paper argues that they should be analyzed using a widened notion of a strategic setting. It is suggested that regions encapsulating each conflict state and its neighboring states provide such an environment. From a general notion of uncertainty as a key characteristic of the strategic environment, the role of kin groups is examined. It is suggested that the existence of ethnic kin between conflict actors and groups across the borders of the state in conflict is associated with an increased risk of onset of ethnic conflict in the state at risk of contagion. In addition, it is hypothesized that when the state at risk is characterized by polarization it is especially vulnerable to conflict contagion. The hypotheses are evaluated using Cox regression with new data on the ethnic constituency of actors as well as measures of polarization of the ethnic groups. Two slightly different samples are analyzed; the unit of analysis of the first sample is dyads of conflict states and their neighboring states annually, whereas the second sample excludes those neighbors that are not in direct proximity to the con-flict zone. The findings suggest that the existence of the ethnic kin, as well as the neighboring states being characterized by ethnic polarization, increase the likelihood of ethnic conflict onset. The findings are substantially the same for the two subsets, indicating that contagion processes may extend beyond the immediate zone of fighting.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. 26- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-17880OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-17880DiVA: diva2:45651