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Brubaker and Laitin: Ethnic and nationalist violence

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I even say who wrote them. If you have more recent summaries to add to this collection, send them my way I guess. Sorry for the ads; they cover the costs of keeping this online.

Brubaker and Laitin. 1998. Ethnic and nationalist violence. Annual Review of Sociology 4: 423-452.

A large problem in the literature is that it is NOT full of competing theories about a phenomenon (ethnic violence); instead it is full of competing ideas about WHAT ethnic violence is. We need a uniform way of coding conflicts as ethnic or not. The authors' definition:

"With these caveats in mind, we define ethnic violence on first approximation as violence perpetrated across ethnic lines, in which at least one party is not a state (or a representative of a state), and in which the putative ethnic difference is coded--by perpetrators, targets, influential third parties, or analysts--as having been integral rather than incidental to the violence, that is, in which the violence is coded as having been meaningfully oriented in some way to the different ethnicity of the target." (page 428)

For purposes of analysis, they structure their review around three methods of study, namely inductive, theory-driven, and cultural. See the notes in the margins.

Research by the same authors

Research on similar subjects


Brubaker, Rogers (author)Laitin, David (author)Comparative PoliticsEthnic ConflictNationalism

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