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Dominant Ethnicity Majority Groups, Dominant Minorities and Conflict Eric Kaufmann Birkbeck College, University of London.

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Presentation on theme: "Dominant Ethnicity Majority Groups, Dominant Minorities and Conflict Eric Kaufmann Birkbeck College, University of London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dominant Ethnicity Majority Groups, Dominant Minorities and Conflict Eric Kaufmann Birkbeck College, University of London

2 Omission in Current Literature Nation and dominant ethnie conflated in popular mind and in the scholarly literature (i.e. French in France; Japanese in Japan) Parochialism (ethnic as 'other' in US literature); homogeneous states in Europe occlude ethnie-nation link nationalism, citizenship, migration, ethnic studies, political theory equate ethnic = minority (i.e. MAR) Dominant group is not background, but an active sub-national player

3 The View from MAR: UK, France, USA Are there no English in Britain? No French in France? No Whites in the USA? Is there not something different about N.I. Catholics and U.K. Muslims? What of Corsicans in Corsica vs on mainland?

4 Problem of Ontological Dominance Primary v Secondary Groups. Does group consider itself indigenous? I.e. the ontologically dominant group Gurr & Harff (1994) – German Turks and Malay Chinese (secondary) are considered alongside Kurds and Miskito Indians (primary) to form model

5 Dominant Ethnicity Ethnic group (primary/secondary) vs nation Schermerhorn 'dominant majority', 'dominant minority' Smith 'core ethnie' 'dominant ethnie.' Other terms: 'staatsvolk', 'host society', 'charter group', 'herrenvolk democracy', etc.

6 Dominant Minority Ethnicity Obvious in the multi-ethnic empires (Rome, Ottoman, Habsburg, later British, French, Dutch empires) Can also think of ethnic states as having dominant minorities since peasantry had localised identity (i.e. medieval/early modern France, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, Poland) Ethnically-conscious elite, masses speak range of languages or dialects

7 From Dominant Minorities to Dominant Majorities Rise of the Nation- State elevates dominant majority Ethnic exclusion (Wimmer 2002) Democratisation replaces dynastic legitimacy Secession from empire and multiethnic states

8 Dominant Minorities in Modern States Colonisers favour certain minorities (i.e. Tutsi, Sunni, Maronite, white settler) Postcolonial power structure Authoritarian regimes: Control Military and elite Strong security apparatus (ie Mukhabarat) Legitimising 'civic' nationalist ideology

9 Dominant Minority Ethnicity and National Identity Wider national identity, despite narrow ethnic power base Pan-Arabism and socialism (Syria, Iraq, Jordan) Pan-Africanism and socialism (Ghana, Tanzania) Islamism (Iran, Taliban Afghanistan)

10 Second Delegitimisation of Dominant Minorities Suffer From new 'Third Wave' of democratisation post-1989 End of Cold War removes socialism as missionary ideology of the nation; also pan- Africanism, pan-Arabism - though Islamism strengthens Minorities deposed (i.e. Americo-Liberians, Afrikaners, Rhodesians, Tutsi in Burundi, Serbs in Kosovo) Or lose status (i.e. Anglos in Quebec after 1960, English in Scotland, Spanish in Catalonia, Maronites in Lebanon)

11 Iraq: From Dominant Minority to Dominant Majority

12 Still a Few Dominant Minorities Today Alawi in Syria, Sunni in Bahrain, Tutsi in Rwanda, Gulf Arabs in Kuwait/UAE – authoritarianism, gerrymandering, exclusive citizenship. Under pressure.

13 Source: Vanhanen 1999

14 The Shadowy Nature of Dominant Ethnicity Must look not only at state elites, but at the often informal structures of dominant ethnicity USA, until 1960s: WASPs 80-90% of top economic, government, military positions, despite just pc of total Restrictive Immigration Laws Rural-urban malapportionment Covert discrimination against Catholics, Jews; overt v. nonwhites Blacks disenfranchised in South through literacy tests, poll taxes

15 Dominant Ethnic Violence Can be linked to demographic change Serbian aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo, , 1999 Coup in Fiji, 2000 Thailand, Oct violence India: Mumbai , Gujarat 2002, Assam 1980s Cote D'Ivoire, 2002

16 Theorising Dominant Ethnic Violence Dominant ethnic outbidding by hardliners. Checks moderation (Horowitz) Paisley in NI United Iraqi Alliance under pressure from Shia grassroots for revenge against Sunnis BJP/RSS v Congress in India Estonian nationalist party gains after Bronze soldier riot of April 2007

17 Dominant Ethnicity and Secessionist Violence Not just minorities v state Dominant ethnie often backs state v. minorities, stoking grievances: Ulster-Protestants call for no concessions and crackdown on Catholics, Sinhala-Only movement drove Tamils to revolt Popularity of Chechen war among ethnic Russians, not just the state Role of diaspora (i.e. India; Croatia; Israel, Serbia) Key Q: Does state act in national interest or dominant ethnic interest?

18 2 Species of Ethnic Violence Nazis vs Basques Type I: Separatist Violence Type II: Dominant Ethnic Violence – sparked by rising numbers, power of minorities OR fabricated hysteria (sometimes genocidal) A relationship, but analytically distinct

19 *Note that 519 MAR groups (61%) have a base, 333 groups (39%) do not. Puzzle: Why are violent minorities so often regional?

20 ..And Why Don’t Immigrants Rebel? “Once state level variables are included in MAR specifications, the only group-level variables that consistently come out as significant predictors of civil war onsets are those associated with the geographical concentration of the group population and its dispersion over a regional base.”-F&L 2009 YESNO Has the Group Been in the Country Since 1800? 2.9 (n=248) 1.0 (n=50) Does the Group have a Regional Base? 2.9 (n=276) 1.1 (n=123) For Groups with a Regional Base, Has the Group Faced Competition for Vacant Land in the 1980s? 3.3 (n=34) 2.3 (n=203) Average rebel score (number of observations)

21 Varieties of Dominant Ethnicity Majorities or minorities Dominance of state or sub-state nation Economic, Political, Cultural, Demographic, Ontological Indigenousness (Smith; Horowitz) and power (Schermerhorn, Doane) S. Caribbean cases demonstrate

22 Ontological dominance is necessary, even if not sufficient Immigrant groups are not primary ethnic groups, do not occupy ‘homeland’ Primary ethnic groups have a concept of sacralized homeland, and, if ‘awakened’ by nationalism, seek to render ethnic homeland and politics congruent, i.e. to be the dominant ethnic group in ‘their’ homeland Some rebellious groups have lost their home base but still seek it (i.e. almost all nonterritorial rebels are indigenous peoples, not aggrieved migrant groups) Almost no cases of purely grievance-based or opportunistic rebellions If a foreign invader came, who would be most likely to resist? Trading minority or ‘Indigenous’ group

23 Dominant Ethnicity in the West West: Norms of Cultural liberalism/ Universal personhood and Civic Nationalism, leading to: Anti-Immigrant violence Rise of Far Right 'White Flight' Dominant majorities shrinking – will they become dominant minorities? Unlikely: assimilation seems to have widened ethnic boundaries (ie US whites, Mestizos in Latin America)

24 Normative Questions Dominant majority ethnicity necessary for stable power sharing systems? (O' Leary 2001) Is the ethnicity of a dominant group worth consideration/preservation? Can we have a liberal form of dominant ethnicity? (i.e. a liberal 'national ethnicity')

25

26 Data Sets Country/year 6,327 observations from , with all countries >500,000 population Onset as dependent variable 127 onsets Group country (Minorities at Risk) 357 groups (Kurds/Iraq; Kurds/Iran; Kurds/Turkey are three distinct observations) Rebellion as dependent variable (8-point ordinal scale from none reported to protracted civil war) Since 1945, 198 groups never had >0; 127 groups had >3 (our criteria for a civil war rebellion).

27 Conclusions from Country/Year Dataset What differentiates countries that have suffered from civil wars from those that have not? States that signal weakness [low GDP; new state; changed institutions; oil] What can we learn from correlations about the causes of civil wars? No support for Clash of Civilizations or Level of Grievances

28 Geographical Concentration Once state level variables are included in MAR specifications, the only group-level variables that consistently come out as significant predictors of civil war onsets are those associated with the geographical concentration of the group population and its dispersion over a regional base. YESNO Has the Group Been in the Country Since 1800? 2.9 (n=248) 1.0 (n=50) Does the Group have a Regional Base? 2.9 (n=276) 1.1 (n=123) For Groups with a Regional Base, Has the Group Faced Competition for Vacant Land in the 1980s? 3.3 (n=34) 2.3 (n=203) Average rebel score (number of observations)

29 Sons-of-the-Soil and Civil War Onsets When facing government supported internal migration that threatens their regional predominance, we call groups that have a regional base “sons of the soil”. Sixteen of 127 civil wars have been motivated, at least in part, by sons of soil insurgents, and these tend to be the longest by a factor of 5. This paper seeks to explain the causes of these wars, in a way that is consistent with our general findings about civil war onsets.

30 Sons-of-Soil Wars Chakma peoples in the Chitttagong Hills of Bangladesh, Nagas and other “tribals” in Northeast India, Moros in the Philippines, Tamils in the North and East in Sri Lanka, Uighurs in Xinjiang province, and Tibetans in China, Mons and Karens in Burma, Sindhis against the Mohajirs around Karachi in Pakistan, Bougainvilleans in Papua New Guinea, West Papuans and Achenese in Indonesia, Tuaregs in Mali. Joolas in Casamanse, Senegal

31 What Explains Sons-of-Soil Wars? (1) Territorial Imperative – a branch of a clash of civilization argument Can’t explain failure of most tribals to mount a civil war in the face of settlement by dominant group (Bushmen; Native Americans; Chota Nagpur) (2) Most sons-of-soil wars are in Asia, where population density is greatest of all regions, suggesting that the origins of the conflict concern scarce land – favoring a grievance story. (3) Regional concentration as a form of “rough terrain” – a branch of the conditions that favor insurgency argument

32 …and Power What about dominant minorities in a state? Aspects of dominance: demographic, cultural, economic, political What about locally-dominant minorities (i.e. pur laine Quebecois and Scots Protestants but not Tibetans) Do they dominate home region? On which aspects?

33 Why ‘Sons-of-Soil’ Wars? High Asian population density. Resource conflict Regional concentration linked to ‘rough terrain’. Tactical advantage Territorial Imperative can’t explain cases of inaction by tribals (Bushmen; Native Americans; Chota Nagpur) Yes – but why don’t immigrants rebel?


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