Ethnic Conflict Summary

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Karl Cordell and Stefan Wolff are both political scientists who specialise in ethnicity and governance in Plymouth University and international security in the University of Birmingham respectively. They collaborated on a number of works and have both co-edited and co-authored works on both ethnicity and conflict. One such book, published in 2009 by Polity, that is co-authored by Karl Cordell and Stefan Wolff is Ethnic Conflict: Causes, Consequences and Responses. In the introduction of this book Cordell and Wolff both clearly lay out what the aims of the book are. They tell us that the book will be investigating what an ethnic conflict is, why ethnic conflict remains so prevalent and why it is still such a challenge in the world today,…show more content…
They acknowledge the fact that they cannot address every theory that is out there, nor than they truly examine any of the theories in great detail in the space that they have afforded them. Instead of attempting this they examine the extant theories with regards to two broad schools of thought. First they deal with the school of thought that sees the ethnic conflicts as a rational conflict with economic and security elements to them. The second school of thought that they address is the more psychological and cultural school of thought which deals more social identity based explanations of ethnic conflict. In their examining of both these schools of thought Cordell and Wolff bring in elements of international relations theory. In their examinations of these schools of thought they make reference to the major contributors, such as Volkan and Monteville and their contributions to psychoanalytical theories of ethnic conflict, and their theories instead of making their own contributions to the…show more content…
They do this by examining they see as the three main schools of conflict settlement. These three schools are centipetalism, power sharing and power dividing. Centripetalism as described by Cordell and Wolff seems on the face of it to be a type of power sharing as it puts forward that “’intergroup political accommodation’ is achieved by ‘electoral systems that provide incentives for parties to form coalitions.’” As well as describing the different theories, they examine recent conflicts and after this analysis they reach the conclusion that there is “a trend towards favouring territorial self-government as a part of an overall institutional design that seeks to square the circle between self-determination of identity groups, on the one hand, and territorial integrity and sovereignty of existing states, on the other” . At the end of this chapter examining the schools of conflict settlement they reach the conclusion that none of the three schools are alone capable of encapsulating the practice of complex power sharing again leading towards the idea that there needs to be some sort of framework that can bring together all the disparate theories of conflict settlement just like they bring the different theories of ethnic conflict under their four tiered
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