Ethnic Conflict in World Politics


Barbara Harff; Ted Robert Gurr

Second Edition • August 1, 2003 • 256 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813398402 • $40.00 USD$64.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813346274 • $25.99 USD$28.99 CAN

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This second edition of Ethnic Conflict in World Politics is an introduction to a new era in which civil society, states, and international actors attempt to channel ethnic challenges to world order and security into conventional politics. From Africa’s post-colonial rebellions in the 1960s and 1970s to anti-immigrant violence in the 1990s the authors survey the historical, geographic, and cultural diversity of ethnopolitical conflict. Using an analytical model to elucidate four well-chosen case studies—the Kurds, the Miskitos, the Chinese in Malaysia, and the Turks in Germany—the authors give students tools for analyzing emerging conflicts based on the demands of nationalists, indigenous peoples, and immigrant minorities throughout the world. The international community has begun to respond more quickly and constructively to these conflicts than it did to civil wars in divided Yugoslavia and genocide in Rwanda by using the emerging doctrines of proactive peacemaking and peace enforcement that are detailed in this book. Concludes by identifying five principles of international doctrine for managing conflict in ethnically diverse societies. The text is illustrated with maps, tables, and figures.

Barbara Harff is professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy and the Strassler Distinguished Visiting Professor at Clark University’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Her writings on the international and comparative dimensions of massive human rights violations explore the connections between ethnic conflict and genocide, and analyze international responsibilities for restraining violence within states. Barbara Harff has been a senior consultant to the U.S. government’s State Failure Task Force.

Ted Robert Gurr is distinguished professor at University of Maryland. He is an internationally known authority on the causes and management of political violence and ethnic conflict. He has been a senior consultant to the U.S. government’s State Failure Task Force.

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Although titled as a second edition, Harff and Gurr not only provide the latest updates on critical cases, but more importantly they give the scholarly community vital new conclusions about ethnic mobilization and its international consequences. The volume weaves together in-depth studies of indigenous groups (the Kurds of the Middle East) and migrant communal groups (Turks in Germany) with a thoroughly developed theoretical framework that provides investigative explanations for how and why specific internal and international conditions exacerbate and contribute to open conflict. The authors also address the prickly issue of the degree to which democratic transitions exacerbate or alleviate communal conflict. In this light, the authors take a step beyond those taken by other writers in the field and offer predictions about the consequences of international intervention into domestic conflict and also policy prescriptions for reducing the disruptive consequences of ethnic conflict in the world arena. This reviewer has previously used books authored or co-authored by Professor Gurr in both graduate and undergraduate teaching. Each of his books is an improvement over the last in providing a premium mix of explanatory/predictive models and empirical case studies. This book is the best yet.
— Vicki Hesli, Professor of Political Science, University of Iowa

Rich in examples, clear in its approach, and theoretically grounded, this is an ideal text to introduce students to the complexities of ethnic conflict in the modern world. Harff and Gurr focus on the interactions among ethnic communities, modern states, and the global state-system, showing how ethnic conflicts develop. They also examine the policies that nations and international agencies have developed to help resolve such conflicts, and to cope with their sometimes catastrophic effects.
— Jack A. Goldstone, Virginia E. and John T. Hazel, Jr. Professor of Public Policy, George Mason University

A very insightful study of ethnic conflict and the factors which give rise to it. Gurr and Harff provide four well-chosen case studies in which they analyze divergent scenarios ethnic tension and conflict. The authors cogently suggest how societies, states, and the international system can and should respond to ethno-political conflict.
— Bernard Cook, Professor of History, Loyola University New Orleans

Barbara Harff and Ted Gurr have once again done an excellent job in their reissuing of Ethnic Conflict in World Politics. This updated version provides and extremely valuable overview of the processes that drive disadvantaged or disillusioned groups to rise up against their government. Their combined expertise on genocide and civil conflicts meld nicely into a book-length treatment of the causes, consequences, and potential responses that help to manage these types of conflict. The style of writing and their ability to combine historical case material with a discussion of the approach to more systematic search for broad trends in the data makes this an ideal book for college level courses on civil wars or ethnic conflicts.
— Patrick M. Regan, Professor of Political Science, Binghamton University

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